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Title: History of Egypt From 330 B.C. To the Present Time, Volume 12 (of 12)
Author: Rappoport, S.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of Egypt From 330 B.C. To the Present Time, Volume 12 (of 12)" ***

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From 330 B.C. to the Present Time

By S. RAPPOPORT, Doctor of Philosophy, Basel; Member of the Ecole
Langues Orientales, Paris; Russian, German, French Orientalist and


Containing over Twelve Hundred Colored Plates and Illustrations



[Illustration: Spines]

[Illustration: Cover]


[Illustration: 001.jpg PAGE IMAGE]

[Illustration: 002.jpg PAGE IMAGE]



_Spread of Muhammedanism--Spirit of the Crusades--The Fati-mite
Caliphs--Saladin's brilliant reign--Capture of Damietta--Conquests of
Beybars--Mamluks in power--Wars with Cyprus--Turkish misrule--Napoleon
invades Egypt--Battle of the Pyramids--Policy of conciliation--Nelson
destroys the French fleet--Napoleon in Syria--Battle at Mount
Carmel--Napoleon returns to France--Negotiations for surrender--Kléber
assassinated--French army surrenders--Rise of Mehemet Ali-Massacre of
the Mamluks--Egyptian army reorganized--Ibrahim Pasha in Greece--Battle
of Navarino-Revolt against Turkey-Character of Mehemet Ali--Reforms
under his Rule--Ismail Pasha made Khedive--Financial difficulties
of Egypt--England and France assume control--Tewfik Pasha becomes
Khedive--Revolt of Arabi Pasha--The Mahdist insurrection--Death of
General Gordon--Kitchener's campaign against the Dervishes--Prosperity
of Egypt under English control--Abbas Pasha becomes Khedive--Education,
courts, and government of modern Egypt--The Nile; its valley, branches,
and delta--Ancient irrigation systems--The Suez Canal, its inception and
completion--The great dam at Aswan--Ancient search for the sources of
the Nile--Modern discoveries in Central Africa--The Hieroglyphs--Origin
of the alphabet--Egyptian literature--Mariettas discoveries--The
German Egyptologists--Jeremiah verified--Maspero, Naville, and
Petrie--Palæolithic man--Egyptian record of Israel--Egypt Exploration
Fund--The royal tombs at Abydos--Chronology of the early kings--Steles,
pottery, and jewelry-The temples of Abydos--Seals, statuettes, and

[Illustration: 003.jpg PAGE IMAGE]


_The Ideal of the Crusader: Saladin's Campaign: Richard I. in Palestine:
Siege of Damietta: St. Louis in Egypt: The Mamluks: Beybars' Policy._

The traditional history of the Christian Church has generally maintained
that the Crusades were due solely to religious influence and sprang from
ideal and moral motives: those hundreds of thousands of warriors who
went out to the East were religious enthusiasts, prompted by the pious
longings of their hearts, and Peter the Hermit, it was claimed, had
received a divine message to call Christendom to arms, to preach
a Crusade against the unbelievers and take possession of the Holy
Sepulchre. That such ideal reasons should be attributed to a war like
the Crusades, of a wide and far-reaching influence on the political and
intellectual development of mediæval Europe, is not at all surprising.
In the history of humanity there have been few wars in which the
combatants on both sides were not convinced that they had drawn their
swords for some noble purpose, for the cause of right and justice. That
the motives prompting the vast display of arms witnessed during the
Crusades, that the wanderings of those crowds to the East during two
centuries, and the cruelties committed by the saintly warriors on their
way to the Holy Sepulchre, should be attributed exclusively to ideal
and religious sources is therefore quite natural. It is not to be
denied that there was a religious factor in the Crusades; but that the
religious motive was not the sole incentive has now been agreed upon
by impartial historians; and in so far as the motives animating the
Crusaders were religious motives, we are to look to powerful influences
which gradually made themselves felt from without the ecclesiastical
organisations. It was by no means a movement which the Church alone had
called into being. On the contrary, only when the movement had grown
ripe did Gregory VII. hasten to take steps to enable the Church to
control it. The idea of a Crusade for the glory of religion had not
sprung from the tenets of Christianity; it was given to mediaeval Europe
by the Muhammedans.

History can hardly boast of another example of so gigantic a conquest
during so short a period as that gained by the first adherents of Islam.
Like the fiery wind of the desert, they had broken from their retreats,
animated by the promises of the Prophet, and spread the new doctrine far
and wide. In 653 the scimitar of the Saracens enclosed an area as large
as the Roman Empire under the Cæsars. Barely forty years elapsed after
the death of the Prophet when the armies of Islam reached the Atlantic.
Okba, the wild and gallant leader, rode into the sea on the western
shore of Africa, and, whilst the seething waves reached to the saddle
of his camel, he exclaimed: "Allah, I call thee as witness that I should
have carried the knowledge of Thy name still farther, if these waves
threatening to swallow me would not have prevented me from doing so."
Not long after this, the flag of the crescent was waving from the
Pyrenees to the Chinese mountains. In 711 the Saracens under General
Tarik crossed the straits between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic,
and landed on the rock which has since been called after him, "the hill
of Tarik," Jebel el-Tarik or Gibraltar. Spain was invaded and captured
by the Moslems. For awhile it seemed as if on the other side of the
Garonne the crescent would also supplant the cross, and only the victory
of Charles Martel in 732 put a stop to the wave of Muhammedan conquest.

Thus in a brief period Muhammedanism spread from the Nile Valley to the
Mediterranean. Muhammed's trenchant argument was the sword. He gave a
distinct command to his followers to convince the infidels of the
Power of truth on the battle-field. "The sword is a surer argument than
books," he said. Accordingly the Koran ordered war against unbelievers:
"The sword is the key to heaven and hell; a drop of blood shed in the
cause of Allah, a night spent in arms, is of more avail than two months
of fasting and prayer; whoever falls in battle, his sins are forgiven,
and at the day of judgment his limbs shall be supplied with the wings
of angels and cherubim." Before the battle commenced, the commanders
reminded the warriors of the beautiful celestial houris who awaited the
heroes slain in battle at the gates of Paradise.

The first efforts having been crowned with success, the Moslems soon
became convinced of the fulfilment of the prophecy that Allah had given
them the world and wished them to subdue all unbelievers. Under the
Caliph Omar, the Arabs had become a religious-political community of
warriors, whose mission it was to conquer and plunder all civilised and
cultured lands and to unfurl the banner of the crescent. They believed
that "Paradise is under the shadow of the sword." In this belief the
followers of Muhammed engaged in battle without fear or anxiety, spurred
to great deeds, reckless in the face of danger, happy to die and pass
to the delights of Paradise. The "holy war" became an armed propaganda
pleasing to Allah. It was, however, a form of propaganda quite unknown
and amazing to Christendom. In the course of two centuries the crescent
had supplanted the cross. Of what avail was the peaceful missionary's
preaching if province after province and country after country were
taken possession of by the new religion that forced its way by means of
fire and sword?

Was it not natural that Christian Europe should conceive the idea
of doing for their religion what the Moslems did for Islam! and that,
following the example of Moslems in their "holy war," Christians should
emulate them in the Crusades?

It must not be forgotten also that the Arabs, almost from the first
appearance of Muhammedanism, were under the refining and elevating
influences of art and science. While the rest of Europe was in the
midnight of the Dark Ages, the Moorish universities of Spain were the
beacon of the revival of learning. The Christian teacher was still
manipulating the bones of the saints when the Arab physician was
practising surgery. The monachal schools and monasteries in Italy,
France, and Germany were still grappling with poor scholastic knowledge
when Arab scholars were well advanced in the study of Aristotle and
Plato. Stimulated by their acquaintance with the works of Ptolemy and
Euclid, Galenus and Hippocrates, they extended their researches into the
dominions of astronomy, mathematics, and medicine.

[Illustration: 007.jpg ARABIC DECORATIVE PAINTING]

The religious orders of the knights, a product of the Crusades, found
their antitype in similar organisations of the Moslems, orders that had
exactly the same tendencies and regulations. Such an order established
for the spread of Islam and the protection of its followers was that of
the Raabites or boundary-guards in the Pyrenean peninsula. These knights
made a vow to carry, throughout their lives, arms in defence of the
faith; they led an austere existence, were not allowed to fly in battle,
but were compelled either to conquer or fall. Like the Templars or the
Hospital Knights their whole endeavour was to gain universal dominion
for their religion. The relation existing between the Moslems and
the Christians before the Crusades was much closer than is generally
imagined. Moslem soldiers often fought in the ranks of the Christian
armies; and it was by no means rare to see a Christian ruler call
upon Moslem warriors to assist him against his adversary. Pope Gregory
rescued Rome from the hands of his imperial opponent, Henry of Germany,
only with the aid of the Saracen soldiers.

When, therefore, the influence of Muhammedanism began to assert itself
throughout the south of Europe, it was natural that in a crude and
stirring age, when strife was the dominant passion of the people, the
idea of a holy war in the cause of faith was one in which Christian
Europe was ready to take an example from the followers of Islam. The
political, economical, and social state of affairs, the misery and
suffering of the people, and even the hierarchy and the ascetic spirit
of the time certainly made the minds of the people accessible to the
idea of war; the spirit of unrest was pervasive and the time was ripe,
but the influence of Islam was a prominent factor in giving to it an
entirely religious aspect.

But even in the means employed to incite the Christian warriors and
the manner in which the Crusades were carried on, there is a great
similarity between the Christian and the Muhammedan procedure. The
Church, when espousing the cause of the Crusader, did exactly what
Muhammed had done when he preached a holy war. The Church addressed
itself to the weaknesses and passions of human nature. Fallen in
battle, the Moslem, so he was told, would be admitted--be he victor
or vanquished--to the joys of Paradise. The same prospect animated
the Crusader and made him brave danger and die joyfully in defence of
Christianity. "Let them kill the enemy or die. To submit to die for
Christ, or to cause one of His enemies to die, is naught but glory,"
said Saint Bernard. Eloquently, vividly, and in glowing colours were
the riches that awaited the warriors in the far East described: immense
spoil would be taken from the unbelievers. Preachers did not even shrink
from extolling the beauty of the women in the lands to be conquered.
This fact recalls Muhammed's promise to his believers that they would
meet the ever-beautiful dark-eyed houris in the life after death. To the
material, sensual allurements, the Church added spiritual blessings and
eternal rewards, guaranteed to those who took the red cross. During the
Crusades the Christians did their utmost to copy the cruelties of the
Moslems. That contempt for human life, that entire absence of mercy and
the sense of pity which is familiar in all countries where Islam has
gained sway is characteristic also of the Crusades.

Although the narrative of the Crusades belongs rather to the history of
Europe than of any one country, it is so closely intertwined with the
history of Egypt at this period that some digression is necessary. About
twenty years after the conquest of Jerusalem by the Turks, in 1076, the
Holy Sepulchre was visited by a hermit of the name of Peter, a native of
Amiens, in the province of Picardy, France. His resentment and sympathy
were excited by his own injuries and the oppression of the Christian
name; he mingled his tears with those of the Patriarch, and earnestly
inquired if no hope of relief from the Greek emperors of the East could
be entertained. The Patriarch exposed the vices and weakness of the
successors of Constantine. "I will rouse," exclaimed the hermit, "the
martial nations of Europe in your cause;" and Europe was obedient to the
call of the hermit. The astonished Patriarch dismissed him with epistles
of credit and complaint; and no sooner did he land at Bari than Peter
hastened to kiss the feet of the Roman pontiff. Pope Urban II. received
him as a prophet, applauded his glorious design, promised to support it
in a general council, and encouraged him to proclaim the deliverance
of the Holy Land. Invigorated by the approbation of the pontiff, this
zealous missionary traversed with speed and success the provinces of
Italy and France. He preached to innumerable crowds in the churches, the
streets, and the highways: the hermit entered with equal confidence the
palace and the cottage; and the people of all classes were impetuously
moved by his call to repentance and arms.

The first Crusade was headed by Godefroy de Bouillon, Duke of Lower
Lorraine; Baldwin, his brother; Hugo the Great, brother of the King of
France; Robert, Duke of Normandy, son of William the Conqueror; Raymond
of St. Gilles, Duke of Toulouse; and Bohemond, Prince of Tarentum.
Towards the end of 1097 A.D. the invading force invested Antioch, and,
after a siege of nine months, took it by storm. Edessa was also captured
by the Crusaders, and in the middle of the summer of 1098 they reached
Jerusalem, then in the hands of the Fatimites.

El-Mustali b'Illah Abu'l Kasim, son of Mustanssir, was then on the
throne, but he was only a nominal ruler, for El-Afdhal, a son of
El-Gemali, had the chief voice in the affairs of the kingdom. It was the
army of Kasim that had captured Jerusalem. The city was besieged by the
Crusaders, and it surrendered to them after forty days. Twice did new
expeditions arrive from Egypt and attempt to retake the city, but with
disastrous results, and further expeditions were impossible for some
time, owing to the internal disorders in Egypt. Mustali died after
a reign of about four years; and some historians record, as a truly
remarkable circumstance, that he was a Sunnite by creed, although he
represented a Shiite dynasty.

The next ruler, El-Amir, was the five-year-old son of Mustali, and
El-Afdhal conducted the government until he became of age to govern.
His first act was to put El-Afdhal to death. Under El-Amir the internal
condition of Egypt continued unsatisfactory, and the Crusaders, who had
been very successful in capturing the towns of Syria, were only deterred
from an advance on Egypt by the death of their leader, Baldwin. In
a.h. 524, some of the surviving partisans of El-Afdhal, it is said,
put El-Amir to death, and a son of El-Afdhal assumed the direction of
affairs, and appointed El-Hafiz, a grandson of Mustanssir as caliph.
Afdual's son, whose name was Abu Ali Ahmed, perished in a popular
tumult. The new caliph had great trouble with his next three viziers,
and at length abolished the office altogether. After reigning twenty
years, he was succeeded by his licentious son, Dhafir, whose faults led
to his death at the hand of his vizier, El-Abbas.

For the ensuing six years the supreme power in Egypt was mainly the bone
of contention between rival viziers, although El-Faiz, a boy of five,
was nominally elected caliph on the death of Dhafir. El-Abbas was
worsted by his rival, Tataë, and fled to Syria with a large sum of
money; but he fell into the hands of the Crusaders, was returned to
Tataë, and crucified.


The last of the Fatimite caliphs, El-Adid, in 555 a.h., was raised to
the throne by Tataë, but his power was merely the shadow of sovereignty.
Tataë's tyranny, however, became so odious that the caliph had him
assassinated a year after his accession, but he concealed the fact that
he had instigated the murder. The caliph appointed Tataë's son, El-Adil,
as vizier in his stead. The governorship of Upper Egypt was at this time
in the hands of the celebrated Shawir, whom El-Adil dispossessed, but
in a test of battle, El-Adil was defeated and put to death. In his turn,
Shawir yielded to the more powerful Ed-Durghan, and fled to Damascus.
There he enlisted the aid of the Atabeg Sultan Nur ed-Din, who sent his
army against Ed-Durghan, with the result that Shawir was reinstated in
power in Egypt. He thereupon threw off his promised allegiance to Nur
ed-Din, whose general, Shirkuh (who had led the Damascenes to Egypt),
took up a strategic position. Shawir appealed for aid to the Crusaders,
and with the help of Amaury, King of Jerusalem, Shawir besieged his
friend Shirkuh. Nur ed-Din was successfully attacking the Crusaders
elsewhere, and in the end a peace was negotiated, and the Damascenes
left Egypt.

Two years later, Nur ed-Din formulated a plan to punish the rebellious
Shawir. Persecuted by Shirkuh, Nur ed-Din sent him with his army into
Egypt. The Franks now joined with Shawir to defend the country, hoping
thereby to baffle the schemes of Nur ed-Din. The Christian army was
amazed at all the splendour of the caliph's palace at Cairo. Shawir
retreated to entice the invaders on, who, advancing beyond their base,
were soon reduced to straits. Shirkuh then tried to come to terms with
Shawir against the Christians as a common foe, but without success.
He next thought of retreating, without fighting, with all his Egyptian
plunder. Persuaded at length to fight, he defeated the Franks and
finally came to terms with Shawir, whereby the Franco-Egyptian alliance
came to an end, and he then left Egypt on receiving an indemnity, Shawir
still remaining its ruler.

[Illustration: 015.jpg GATE OF EL FUTUH AT CAIRO]

The peace, however, did not last long, and Nur ed-Din sent Shirkuh again
with many Frankish free-lancers against the ill-fated country. On the
approach of the army towards Cairo, the vizier set fire to the ancient
city of Fostât, to prevent it from falling into the hands of the
invaders, and it burned continually for fifty days. El-Adid now sought
aid of Nur ed-Din, who, actuated by zeal against the Franks, and by
desire of conquest, once more despatched Shirkuh. In the meantime
negotiations had been opened with Amaury to raise the siege of Cairo on
payment of an enormous sum of money. But, before these conditions
had been fulfilled, the approach of the Syrian army induced Amaury
to retreat in haste. Shirkuh and Saladin entered the capital in
great state, and were received with honour by the caliph, and
with obsequiousness by Shawir, who was contriving a plot which was
fortunately discovered, and for which he paid with his life. Shirkuh
was then appointed vizier by El-Adid, but, dying very shortly, he was
succeeded in that dignity by his nephew Saladin (A.D. 1169).

Saladin inaugurated his reign with a series of brilliant successes.
Egypt once again took an important place among the nations, and by the
wars of Saladin it became the nucleus of a great empire. Military glory
was never the sole aim of Saladin and his successors. They continued
to extend to letters and the arts their willing patronage, and the
beneficial effects of this were felt upon the civilisation of the
country. Though ruler of Egypt, Saladin gained his greatest renown
by his campaigns against the Crusaders in Syria. The inability of Nur
ed-Din's son, El-Malik es-Salih Ismail, to govern the Syrian dominions
became an excuse for Saladin's occupation of Syria as guardian of the
young prince, and, once having assumed this function, he remained in
fact the master of Syria. He continued to consolidate his power in these
parts until the Crusaders, under Philip, Count of Flanders, laid siege
to Antioch. Saladin now went out to meet them with the Egyptian army,
and fought the fierce battle of Ascalon, which proved to be disastrous
to himself, his army being totally defeated and his life endangered.
After this, however, he was fortunate enough to gain certain minor
advantages, and continued to hold his own until a famine broke out in
Palestine which compelled him to come to terms with the Crusaders, and
two years later a truce was concluded with the King of Jerusalem, and
Saladin returned to Egypt.

In the year 576 a.h., he again entered Syria and made war on
Kilidj-Arslan, the Seljukide Sultan of Anatolia, and on Leon, King of
Armenia, both of whom he forced to come to terms. Soon after his return,
Saladin again left Egypt to prosecute a war with the Crusaders, since it
was plain that neither side was desirous of remaining at peace. Through
an incident which had just occurred, the wrath of the Crusaders had been
kindled. A vessel bearing fifteen hundred pilgrims had been wrecked
near Damietta, and its passengers captured. When the King of Jerusalem
remonstrated, Saladin replied by complaining of the constant inroads
made by Renaud de Châtillon. This restless warrior undertook an
expedition against Eyleh, and for this purpose constructed boats at
Kerak and conveyed them on camels to the sea. But this flotilla was
repulsed, and the siege was raised by a fleet sent thither by El-Adil,
the brother of Saladin, and his viceroy. A second expedition against
Eyleh was still more unfortunate to the Franks, who were defeated and
taken prisoners. On this occasion the captives were slain in the valley
of Mina. Saladin then threatened Kerak, encamped at Tiberias, and
ravaged the territory of the Franks. He next made a futile attempt to
take Beirut. He was more successful in a campaign against Mesopotamia,
which he reduced to submission, with the exception of Mosul. While
absent here, the Crusaders did little except undertake several forays,
and Saladin at length returned towards Palestine, winning many victories
and conquering Aleppo on the way. He next ravaged Samaria, and at last
received the fealty of the lord of Mosul, though he did not succeed in
actually conquering the city.

In the year 1186 war broke out again between Saladin and the Christian
hosts. The sultan had respected a truce which he had made with
Baldwin the Leper, King of Jerusalem, but the restless Renaud, who had
previously attacked Eyleh, had broken through its stipulations. His
plunder of a rich caravan enraged Saladin, who forthwith sent out orders
to all his vassals and lieutenants to prepare for a Holy War. In the
year 1187 he marched from Damascus to Kerak, where he laid close siege
to Renaud. At the same time a large body of cavalry was sent on
towards Nazareth under his son El-Afdhal. They were met by 730 Knights
Hospitallers and Templars, aided by a few hundred foot-soldiers.
Inspired by the heroic Jacques de Maillé, marshal of the Temple,
they defied the large Saracen army. In the conflict which ensued, the
Crusaders immortalised themselves by fighting until only three of their
number were left alive, who, after the conflict was over, managed to

Soon after this, Saladin himself approached with a great army of eighty
thousand men, and the Christians with all their forces hastened to meet
him upon the shores of Lake Tiberias. The result of this battle proved
to be the most disastrous defeat which the Christians had yet suffered.
They were weakened by thirst, and on the second day of the conflict a
part of their troops fled. But the knights nevertheless continued to
make a heroic defence until they were overwhelmed by numbers and forced
to flee to the hills of Hittûn. A great number of Crusaders fell in
this conflict, and Guy de Lusignan, King of Jerusalem, and his brother,
Renaud de Châtillon, were among the prisoners of war. The number of
those taken was very great, and Saladin left an indelible stain upon
a reign otherwise renowned for mercy and humanity by allowing the
prisoners to be massacred. Tiberias, Acre, Nabulus, Jericho, Ramleh,
Cæsarea, Arsûr, Jaffa, Beirut, and many other places now fell into the
hands of the conqueror.

[Illustration: 019.jpg ARAB DRINKING-VESSELS]

Tyre successfully resisted Saladin's attacks. Ascalon surrendered on
favourable conditions, and, to crown all, Jerusalem itself fell a prey
to his irresistible arms. The great clemency of Saladin is chronicled
on this occasion by Christian historians, but the same was an offence to
many of the Moslems and is but little referred to by their historians.

Tyre was now again besieged and was on the point of capture when the
besieged were relieved by the arrival of Conrad, son of the Marquis
of Monferrat. The defence was now fought with such vigour that Saladin
abandoned it and made an attack upon Tripoli, but with no better
success, although he succeeded in forcing Bohemond, Prince of Antioch,
and ruler of Tripoli, to submit on terms favourable to himself. After
this, Saladin took part in the defence of the ever-memorable siege of
Acre, which called forth deeds of gallantry and heroism on both sides,
and which lasted for two years, during which it roused the interest
of the whole of the Christian world. The invading army were in time
reinforced by the redoubtable Richard Coeur de Lion, King of England,
and Philip II. of France, and, breaking down all opposition, they
captured the city, and floated upon its walls the banners of the cross
in the year 1191 A.D. Unfortunately for the good name of the Christians,
an act of ferocious barbarity marred the lustre of their triumph, for
2,700 Moslems were cut down in cold blood in consequence of the failure
of Saladin to fulfil the terms of the capitulation; and the palliative
plea that the massacre was perpetrated in the heat of the assault can
scarcely be urged in extenuation of this enormity. While many historians
have laid the blame on King Richard, the historian Michaud believes
it rather to have been decided on in a council of the chiefs of the

After a period of rest and debauchery, the army of the Crusaders, led on
by King Richard, began to march towards Jerusalem. Saladin harassed his
advance and rendered the strongholds on the way defenceless and ravaged
the whole country. Richard was nevertheless ever victorious. His great
personal bravery struck terror into the Moslems, and he won an important
victory over them at Arsûr. Dissensions now broke out among chiefs of
the Crusaders, and Richard himself proved to be a very uncertain
leader in regard to the strategy of the campaign. So serious were
these drawbacks that the ultimate aim of the enterprise was thereby
frustrated, and the Crusaders never attained to their great object,
which was the re-conquest of Jerusalem. At the time when the Christian
armies were in possession of all the cities along the coast, from Jaffa
to Tyre, and the hosts of Saladin were seriously disorganised, a treaty
was concluded and King Richard sailed back on the return journey to
England. The glory acquired by Saladin, and the famous campaigns of
Richard Cour de Lion, have rendered the Third Crusade the most memorable
in history, and the exploits of the heroes on both sides shed a lustre
on the arms of both Moslems and Christians.

Saladin died about a year after the conclusion of this peace, at
Damascus, A.D. 1193, at the age of fifty-seven. With less rashness and
bravery than Richard, Saladin possessed a firmer character and one far
better calculated to carry on a religious war. He paid more attention to
the results of his enterprises; more master of himself, he was more
fit to command others. When mounting the throne of the Atabegs, Saladin
obeyed rather his destiny than his inclinations; but, when once firmly
seated, he was governed by only two passions,--that of reigning and
that of securing the triumph of the Koran. On all other subjects he
was moderate, and when a kingdom or the glory of the Prophet was not
in question, the son of Ayyub was admired as the most just and mild of
Muhammedans. The stern devotion and ardent fanaticism that made him take
up arms against the Christians only rendered him cruel and barbarous
in one single instance. He displayed the virtues of peace amidst the
horrors of war. "From the bosom of the camps," says an Oriental poet,
"he covered the nations with the wings of his justice, and poured upon
his cities the plenteous showers of his liberality." During his reign
many remarkable public works were executed. The Muhammedans, always
governed by fear, were astonished that a sovereign could inspire them
with so much love, and followed him with joy to battle. His generosity,
his clemency, and particularly his respect for an oath, were often the
subjects of admiration to the Christians, whom he rendered so miserable
by his victories, and of whose power in Asia he had completed the
overthrow. Previous to his death, Saladm had divided the kingdom
between his three sons; El-Afdhal received Damascus, Southern Syria,
and Palestine, with the title of sultan; El-Aziz obtained the kingdom of
Egypt, and Ez Zahir the princedom of Aleppo.

El-Aziz undertook a campaign against Syria, but was defeated and obliged
to retreat to Cairo on account of a mutiny among his troops. El-Afdhal
pursued him, and had already pressed forward as far as Bilbeis, when
El-Adil, who had hitherto espoused his cause, fearing that he might
become too powerful, forced him to conclude a peace. The only advantage
he obtained was that he regained possession of Jerusalem and the
southern part of Syria. Soon after, El-Adil prevailed upon his nephew
Aziz, with whom he stood on friendly terms, to renew the war and to
take Damascus; El-Afdhal was betrayed, and only Sarchod was left to him,
whereas El-Adil occupied Damascus and forced Aziz to return to Egypt
again (June, 1196). After Aziz's death, in November, 1198, El-Afdhal was
summoned by some of the emirs to act as regent in Egypt. Others called
upon El-Adil to adopt the same course. El-Afdhal, however, became master
of Egypt, and besieged Damascus, reinforced by his brother Zahir, who
feared his uncle's ambition no less than himself. The agreement between
the brothers, however, did not last long; their armies separated, and
El-Afdhal was obliged to raise the siege and retreat to Egypt. He was
pursued by his uncle, and forced, after several skirmishes, to surrender
the capital and content himself once more with Sarchod and one or two
towns on the Euphrates (February, 1200). El-Adil ruled for a short time
in the name of El-Aziz's son; he soon came forward as sultan, forced
Zahir to recognise him as his suzerain, and appointed his son El-Muzzain
as governor of Damascus; the towns which belonged to him in Mesopotamia
were distributed among his other sons, and he thus became, to a certain
extent, the overlord of all the lands conquered by Saladin. His son,
El-Ashraf, later became lord of Chelat in Armenia, and his descendant,
Masud, Kamil's son, obtained possession of happy Arabia; so that the
name Malik Adil was pronounced in all the Moslem chancels from the
borders of Georgia to the Gulf of Aden.


El-Adil was so much engaged with wars against the Moslem princes,--the
princes of Nissibis and Mardin,--and also with repulsing El-Afdhal, who
wished to recover his lost kingdom, that he was unable to proceed with
any force against the Crusaders; he took unwilling measures against them
when they actually broke the peace, and was always ready to conclude
a new treaty. He took Jaffa by storm when the pilgrims, armed by Henry
VI., came to Palestine and interfered with the Moslem devotions, and
when the chancellor Conrad thereupon seized Sidon and Beirut, El-Adil
contented himself with laying waste the former town and hindering
the capture of the fortress Joron; Beirut he allowed to fall into
the enemy's hands. Still later he permitted several attacks of the
Christians--such as the devastation of the town Fuah, situated on the
Rosetta arm of the Nile--to pass unnoticed, and even bought peace at
the expense of the districts of Ramleh and Lydda, which had formerly
belonged to him. It was not until the year 1206 that he acted upon the
offensive against the regent, John of Ibelin, and even then he contented
himself with slight advantages and concluded a new truce for thirty

Shortly before his death, El-Adil, like his brother Saladin, narrowly
escaped losing all his glory and the fruits of so many victories. Pope
Honorius III. had successfully aroused the zeal of the Western
nations for a new Crusade. Numerous well-armed and warlike-minded
pilgrims--among whom were King Andreas of Hungary and Duke Leopold of
Austria--landed at Acre in 1217, and King John of Jerusalem led them
against the Moslems. El-Adil hastened from Egypt to the scene of action,
but was forced to retreat to Damascus and to give up the whole of the
southern district, with the exception of the well-fortified holy town,
to be plundered by the Christians. In the following spring, whilst
El-Adil was in Syria, a Christian fleet sailed to Damietta, and besieged
the town. The attacking forces were composed of Germans and Hungarians,
who had embarked at Spalato on the Adriatic for St. Jean d'Acre, where
they spent a year in unfortunate expeditions and quarrels with the
Christians of Syria. They were joined by a fleet of three hundred boats
furnished by North Germans and Frisians, who, leaving the banks of
the Rhine, had journeyed there by way of the Straits of Gibraltar,
prolonging the journey by a year's fighting in Portugal.

The Christians then in Palestine had persuaded the Crusaders to begin
with an attack on Egypt, and they had therefore chosen to land at
Damietta. This was a large commercial town to the east of one of the
arms of the Nile, which was defended by three walls and a large tower
built on an island in the middle of the Nile, from which started the
chains that barred the river.

The Frisian sailors constructed a castle of wood, which was placed
between the masts of two ships, and from which the Crusaders were able
to leap to the tower, and thus they were able to blockade and starve
the town. The siege was long, and an epidemic breaking out among the
besiegers carried off a sixth of their number. The sultan tried to
succour the besieged by floating down the stream corpses of camels,
which were stuffed with provisions, but the Christians captured them. He
then offered to give the Crusaders, on condition they would depart,
the True Cross and all he possessed of the kingdom of Jerusalem; but
Pelagius, the papal legate,--a Spanish monk who had himself named
commander-in-chief,--rejected the offer.

El-Adil was so stunned by the news of the success of the Christians
that he died a few days after (August, 1218). El-Kamil, however, was not
discouraged; he not only defended Damietta, but also harassed the enemy
in their own camp by means of hordes of Bedouins. Not until he was
forced, by a conspiracy of his troops in favour of his brother El-Faiz,
to fly to Cairo, did the Christians succeed in getting across the Nile
and completely surrounding Damietta. Order was soon restored in
Egypt, owing to the arrival of Prince Muzzain, who had taken over the
government of Damascus on the death of his father. The rebels were
chastised, and both brothers proceeded towards Damietta: they could not
succeed, however, in raising the siege, and the garrison diminished
daily through hunger, sickness, and constant attacks, and the fortress
soon fell into the hands of the Crusaders, almost without a blow
(November 5, 1219). The Crusaders pillaged the town, taking from it four
hundred thousand gold pieces. The Italians also settled there, and
made it the seat of their commerce with Egypt. This conquest caused
excitement in Europe, and the Pope called Pelagius "the second Joshua."

[Illustration: 027.jpg PUBLIC FOUNTAIN, CAIRO.]

If the Franks had been more at peace among themselves, they might
easily have pushed forward to Cairo after the fall of Damietta. But the
greatest discontent prevailed between the papal legate, Pelagius, and
King John of Brienne, so that the latter soon after left Egypt, while
Pelagius was forced to wait for reinforcements before he could get away
from Damietta.

El-Kamil, meanwhile, reinforced his army with the help of the friendly
Syrian princes, and, by destroying the channels and dams of the Nile
canals, so endangered the Christian camp that they were soon forced
to sue for peace, and offered to quit Damietta on the condition of an
unmolested retreat. El-Kamil, equally anxious for peace, accepted these
conditions (August, 1221). Scarcely had the Æyubites thus warded off:
the threatening danger when they proceeded to fall out among themselves.

After the death of El-Kamil, who in the end was generally regarded as
overlord, a new war broke out, in March, 1238, between his son El-Adil
II., who was reigning in Egypt, and his brother Ayyub, who occupied
Damascus. Ayyub conquered Egypt, but, in his absence, his uncle Ismail,
Prince of Balbek, seized upon Damascus and made a league with the Franks
in Palestine and several of the Syrian princes. Through this unnatural
league, Ismail, however, estranged not only the Moslem inhabitants of
Syria, but also his own army. Part of the army deserted in consequence
to Ayyub, who was thus enabled easily to subdue the allied army (1240).
Another coalition was formed against him a few years later, and this
time Da'ud of Kerak was one of the allies. Ayyub sent a strong army of
Egyptians, negroes, and Mamluks under the future sultan, Beybars,
to Syria. The Syrian troops fought unwillingly against their
fellow-believers in the opposite ranks, and the wild Chariz-mites,
who had also joined the ranks, inspired them with terror, so that they
deserted the field of battle in the neighbourhood of Gaza (October,
1244). The Christians, left to themselves, were not in a position to
resist the enemy's attacks; and the Egyptians made themselves masters
of Jerusalem and Hebron, and in the following year obtained Damascus,
Balbek, Ascalon, and Tiberias. In 1248 Ayyub came again into Syria, in
order to chastise El-Malik en-Nasir, Prince of Aleppo, who had seized
upon Hemessa when he heard of the coming Crusaders under Saint Louis.
To this end he made peace with the natives of Aleppo, and returned to
Jerusalem in order to make the necessary preparations for defence. The
pilgrims, however, succeeded in landing, for Emir Fakhr ed-Din, the
Egyptian commander, had taken to flight after a short skirmish, and the
fortress was allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy (June, 1249).
Ayyub now established a firm footing in the town of Cairo--which his
father had founded--in a district intersected by canals, and harassed
the Christian camp with his light cavalry. Louis was expecting
reinforcements, but they did not arrive until the inundations of the
Nile made any advance into the interior almost impossible. At last, on
the 21st of December, the Christian army arrived at the canal of
Ashmum Tanah, which alone separated them from the town of Mansuria.
The Egyptians were now commanded by Emir Fakhr ed-Din. Ayyub had died
a month before, but his wife, Shejret ed-Durr, kept his death a secret
until his son Turan Shah should arrive from Mesopotamia. Fakhr ed-Din
did everything in his power to retrieve his former error. He attacked
the Christians when they were engaged in building a dam across
the canal, hindering their work on the southern bank with his
throwing-machines, destroying their towers with Greek fire; and when, in
spite of all discouragements, their toilsome work was nearly finished,
he rendered it useless by digging out a new basin, into which he
conducted the water of the Ashmum canal.

On the 8th of February, 1250, the French crossed the canal, but, instead
of collecting there, as the king had commanded, so as to attack the
enemy _en masse_, several troops pressed forward against the Egyptians,
and many, including the Count of Artois, the king's brother, were killed
by the valiant enemy under Beybars. The battle remained long undecided,
for the Egyptians had barricaded Cairo so well that it could only be
stormed at the cost of many lives, and after the capture the army needed
rest. The Egyptians took advantage of this delay to bring a fleet up
in the rear of the Egyptian ships, which, in combination with the fleet
stationed near Mansuria, attacked and completely destroyed them. As soon
as they were masters of the Nile, the Egyptians landed troops below the
Christian camp, which was thus completely cut off from Damietta, and
soon suffered the greatest hardships from lack of provisions. Under
these circumstances, Louis opened negotiations with Turan Shah, and
when these proved fruitless, nothing remained for him but to return to
Damietta. Although they began their retreat by night, they did not thus
escape the vigilance of the Egyptians. The fugitives were overtaken on
the following morning, and so shut in by the enemy that resistance was
impossible. A large portion of the army was cut to pieces, in spite of
their surrender; the rest, together with the king and his brother, were
taken prisoners and brought in triumph to Cairo. Turan Shah treated the
king with consideration and hastened to conclude peace with the Bahritic
Mamluks,--so called because they had been brought up on the Nile (Bahr),
on the island Rhodha,--as soon as the ransom money of his prisoners
was assured. The Bahrites grumbled at this peace because it left the
Christians in Palestine in possession of their towns, and they forthwith
murdered Turan Shah, with the help of Shejret ed-Durr, whom he had
maltreated (May 2, 1250).

After Turan Shah's death, his mother was proclaimed sultana, and the
Mamluk Aibek became general of the army. Later, when the caliph of
Baghdad revolted against the rule of a woman, Aibek assumed the title
of sultan and married Shejret ed-Durr. He ruled again after some time
in the name of a young descendant of Kamil, so as to be able to fight
against the Ayyubids in Syria, who, with En-Nasir at their head, had
taken possession of Damascus, with an appearance of right. A battle took
place between Aibek and the Syrians (February, 1251), which was decided
in favour of Aibek in consequence of the treachery of the Turks under
Nasir. Aibek again assumed the title of sultan after the victory, but
was soon after to be murdered by the Mamluks, who were unwilling to be
subject to any control. He anticipated their plot, however, and slew
their leader, the Emir Aktai, putting his followers to flight. He then
demanded the diploma of investiture and the insignia of his office
from the caliph, and also pressed the Prince of Mosul to grant him his
daughter in marriage. His own wife, unable to endure such perfidy, had
him murdered in his bath (April 10, 1257).

[Illustration: 032b]

When Beybars first ascended the throne, he assumed the name of Sultan
Kahir (the over-ruler), but afterwards, when he was informed that this
name had always brought misfortune to its bearer, he changed it to that
of Sultan Zahir (the Glorious).

Now that he was absolute master of Syria and Egypt, Beybars tried to
obliterate the remembrance of the misdeeds he had formerly been guilty
of by means of undertakings for the general good and for the furtherance
of religion. He had the mosques repaired, founded pious institutions,
designed new aqueducts, fortified Alexandria, had all the fortresses
repaired and provisioned which the Mongols had razed to the ground, had
a large number of great and small war-ships built, and established a
regular post between Cairo and Damascus. In order to obtain a semblance
of legitimacy, since he was but a usurper, Beybars recognised a nominal
descendant of the house of Abbas as caliph, who, in the proper course
of things, ought to invest him with the dominions of Syria and Egypt.
Beybars bade his governors receive this descendant of the house of the
Prophet with all suitable marks of honour, and invited him to come to
Egypt. When he approached the capital, the sultan himself went out to
meet him, followed by the vizier, the chief cadi, and the chief emirs
and notabilities of the town. Even the Jews and Christians had to take
part in the procession, carrying respectively the Tora and the Gospel.
The caliph made his entrance into Cairo with the greatest pomp, rode
through the town amidst the shouts of the multitude, and proceeded to
the citadel, where Beybars had appointed him a magnificent dwelling.
Some days afterwards the caliph had a reception of the chief cadi, the
most celebrated theologians and lawyers of Egypt, and many notables of
the capital. The Arabs who formed his escort and an eunuch from Baghdad
testified to the identity of the caliph's person, the chief cadi
recognised their assertion as valid, and was the first to do homage to
him as caliph. Thereupon the sultan arose, took the oath of allegiance
to him and swore to uphold both the written laws of the Koran and
those of tradition; to advance the good and hinder the evil, to fight
zealously for the protection of the faith only, to impose lawful taxes,
and to apply the taxes only to lawful purposes. After the sultan had
finished, homage was done by the sheiks, the emirs, and the other chief
officers of the kingdom. The caliph invested the sultan with power over
all the kingdoms subject to Islam, as well as over all future conquests,
whereupon the people of all classes were admitted to do homage likewise.
Then command was sent out to all the distant princes and governors to do
homage to the caliph, who has assumed the name of El-Mustanssir, and to
place his name beside that of the sultan in their prayers and also on
their coins.

Beybars' treatment of his viziers, governors, and other important emirs,
one or other of whom he either imprisoned or executed on every possible
occasion, was merciless, but he proceeded even more shamelessly against
Malik Mughith, Prince of Kerak and Shaubek, whom he feared so much as
one of the bravest descendants of the house of Ayyub that he stamped
himself publicly as a perjured assassin, in order to get him out of
the way. Beybars had at first, without any declaration of war, in fact,
without any notification of it in Egypt, suddenly sent a detachment of
troops under the leadership of Emir Bedr ed-Din Aidimri, which took the
fortress Shaubek by surprise, and placed the Emir Saif ed-Din Bilban
el-Mukhtasi in it as governor. In the next year, in order to win over
Mughith, he liberated his son Aziz, whom Kotuz had captured at Damascus
and imprisoned at Cairo; he also assured Mughith of his friendly
intentions towards him and repeatedly urged him to arrange a meeting.
El-Malik el-Mughith did not trust Beybars, and invented all kinds of
reasons not to accept his invitations. Beybars resolved at last to calm
the fears of his intended victim by means of a written oath. The fears
of Mughith, however, were not allayed, and he hesitated to fall in with
the wish of the sultan and to appear at his court. The following year,
when the sultan came to Syria and again urged a meeting, he was at a
loss for an excuse, and was forced either to acknowledge his mistrust
or risk everything. He sent his mother first to Gaza, where she was
received with the greatest friendliness by the sultan, and sent back
laden with costly presents; on her return to Kerak, corrupted by the
hospitality and generosity of the sultan, she persuaded her son to wait
on him, as did also his ambassador Alamjad with equal zeal. Finally he
set out from Kerak--when he had made his troops do homage to his son
El-Malik el-Aziz--on a visit to the sultan, who wras then in Tur. The
sultan rode out to meet him as far as Beisan. Malik Mughith wished to
dismount when he perceived the sultan, but he would not permit this, and
rode beside Mughith till he reached his own tent. Here he was separated
from his followers, thrown into chains, and brought into the citadel
of Cairo (a.h. 660). In order to palliate this crime, the sultan made
public the correspondence of the Prince of Kerak with the Mongols, which
it was thought would stamp the former as a traitor to Islam. The judges
whom he brought with him, and amongst whom we find the celebrated
historian Ibn Khallikan, who was then chief judge of Damascus, declared
him guilty, but we only have historical proof of the sending of his son
into Hulagu's camp to beg that his province might be spared, at a time
when all the princes of Syria, seized with panic, threw themselves at
the feet of the Mongolian general. Be that as it may, he none the less
committed a piece of treachery, since he had sworn not to call him to
account for his former crimes. Beybars hoped, now that he had disposed
of Malik Mughith, that the fortress Kerak would immediately surrender to
his emissary, Emir Bedr ed-Din Beisari, but the governor of the fortress
feared to trust the promises of a perjurer and offered resistance.
Beybars therefore set out for Syria with all the necessary siege
apparatus, constructed by the best engineers of Egypt and Syria. The
garrison saw the impossibility of a long resistance and capitulated.

The son of Malik Mughith, El-Malik el-Aziz, a boy of twelve, was
honoured as prince and taken to Egypt, as also Mughith's family. His
emirs and officials were treated with consideration, but the prince was
later thrown into prison. Nothing certain is known with regard to the
death of Mughith. According to some reports, because he offended the
wife of Beybars, when as a wandering Mamluk he once was staying with
him, he was delivered over to the sultan's wives and was put to death by
them; another account says that he died of hunger in prison.

After the conquest of Shekif, the sultan made an attack on the province
of Tripoli because Prince Bok-mond, Governor of Antioch and Tripoli,
was his bitterest enemy and the truest ally of the Mongolians, and had,
moreover, at the time of Hulagu's attack on Syria, made himself master
of several places which till then had belonged to the Mussulmans. The
whole land was wasted, all the houses destroyed, all Christians who fell
into the hands of the troops were murdered, and several strongholds in
the mountains conquered. Laden with rich booty, the Moslem army set out
for Hemessa. From here Beybars proceeded towards Hamah and divided the
army into three divisions; one division, under the Emir Bedr ed-Din
Khaznadar (treasurer), was to take the direction of Suwaidiya, the port
of Antioch; the second, under Emir Izz ed-Din Ighan, struck the route
towards Der-besak; the third, which he led himself, proceeded in a
straight line over Apamaa and Schoghr towards Antioch, which was the
meeting-place for the two other emirs, and would so be shut in from the
north, the west, and the south. On the 16th May the sultan found himself
in front of the town, which contained a population of over one hundred
thousand. Fighting soon ensued between the outposts of the sultan and
the constable who advanced against him at the head of the militia. The
latter was defeated, and the constable himself taken prisoner. On the 3d
of Ramadhan the whole army had united and preparations were made for
the siege. Meanwhile the sultan had already attempted to persuade the
imprisoned constable to return to the town and enduce them to surrender,
and to leave his own son behind as a hostage. But when several days had
passed in fruitless discussions, at last the sultan gave the word for
the attack. In spite of the resistance of the Christians, the walls
were scaled on the same day, and the garrison retired thereupon into the
citadel; the inhabitants were massacred or taken prisoner and all the
houses plundered. No one could escape, for Beybars had blocked all the
entrances. On the next day the garrison, women and children included,
which numbered eight thousand, surrendered on account of lack of water
and meal. The chiefs apparently made their escape during the confusion
and fled into the mountains. The garrison only saved their lives by
surrendering. Beybars had them chained and distributed as slaves amongst
his troops; he then had the other prisoners and the rest of the booty
brought together, and proceeded with the lawful distribution. When
everything had been settled, the citadel was set on fire, but the
conflagration was so great that the whole town was consumed.

Beybars died soon after his return from Asia Minor (July 1, 1277).
According to some reports his death was occasioned by a violent fever;
other accounts say that he died in consequence of a poison which he had
prepared for an Ayyubid and which he accidentally took himself. He had
designated the eldest of his sons as his successor, under the name
of El-Malik es-Said, and in order to give him a strong support he had
married him to the daughter of the Emir Kilawun, one of his best and
most influential generals. In spite of all this, however, es-Said was
not able to maintain himself on the throne for any length of time.

Kilawun conspired against his master, and was soon able to ascend the
throne under the title of El-Malik el-Mansur. His fame as a warrior was
already established, and he added to his successes during his ten
years' reign. His first task was to quell disturbances in Syria, and he
despatched an army thither and captured Damascus. In the year 680 of
the Hegira he took the field in person against a large force of Tatars,
defeated them, and raised the siege of Rahabah. Eight years later he
laid siege to Tripoli, then rich and flourishing after two centuries of
Christian occupation, and the town was taken and its inhabitants killed.
Other expeditions were undertaken against Nubia, but the Nubians, after
they had been twice defeated, appear to have re-established themselves.


The fortress of Acre was at this time the only important stronghold
still retained by the Christians, and for its conquest Kilawun was
making preparations when he died, on the 10th of November, 1290.
Kilawun, says the modern historian Weil, has been unduly praised by
historians, most of whom lived in the reign of his son. He was certainly
not so bloodthirsty as Beybars, and he also oppressed his subjects less.
He, too, cared more for the increase and establishment of his kingdom
than for justice and good faith. He held no agreement sacred, if he
could get any advantage by breaking it, as was shown by his behaviour
towards the Crusaders and the descendants of Beybars. The most beautiful
monument which he left behind him was a huge building outside Cairo,
which included a hospital, a school, and his own tomb. The hospital was
so large that every disease had a special room allotted to it; there
were also apartments for women, and large storerooms for provisions and
medical requirements, and a large auditorium in which the head doctor
delivered his lectures on medicine. The expenses were so great--for
even people of wealth were taken without compensation--that special
administrators were appointed to oversee and keep an account of the
necessary outlay. Besides these officers, several stewards and overseers
were appointed to control the revenues devoted to the hospital by
different institutions. Under the dome of the tomb the Koran and
traditional charters were taught, and both teachers and scholars
received their payment from the state. A large adjacent hall contained
a library of many works on the Koran, tradition, language, medicine,
practical theology, jurisprudence, and literature, and was kept in good
condition by a special librarian and six officials. The school building
contained four audience-halls for the teachers of the Islamite schools,
and in addition to these a school for children, into which sixty poor
orphans were received without any charge and provided with board,
lodging, and clothes.

Khalil, the son of Kilawun, who succeeded him, with the title of
El-Malik el-Ashraf, was able to begin operations in the spring of 1291
against Acre, and on the 18th of May, after an obstinate resistance, the
town was taken by storm. Those who could not escape by water were either
cut down or taken prisoner; the town was plundered, then burnt, and the
fortifications razed to the ground.


After the fall of Acre, towns such as Tyre, Sidon, Beirut, and others,
which were still in the hands of the Christians, offered no resistance,
and were either deserted by their inhabitants or given up to the enemy.
El-Ashraf, now that he had cleared Syria of the Crusaders, turned his
arms against the Mongols and their vassals. He began with the storming
of Kalat er-rum, a fortress on the Upper Euphrates in the neighbourhood
of Bireh, the possession of which was important both for the defence of
Northern Syria and for attacks on Armenia and Asia Minor. In spite of
many pompous declarations that this was only the beginning of greater
conquests in Asia Minor and Irak, he retired as soon as the Ilkhan
Kaikhatu sent a strong detachment of troops against him. Later on he
threatened the Prince of Armenia-Minor with war, and obliged him to hand
over certain border towns. He also exchanged some threatening letters
with Kaikhatu. But neither reigned long enough to make these threats
good, for Kaikhatu was soon after dethroned by Baidu, and Baidu in
his turn by Gazan (1295), after many civil wars which had continually
hindered him from carrying on a foreign war. El-Ashraf was murdered in
1294, whilst hunting, by the regent Baidara, whom he had threatend to
turn out of his office. Kara Sonkor, Lajin, El-Mansuri, and some of the
other emirs had conspired with Baidara in the hope that, when once the
deed was accomplished, all the chiefs in the kingdom would applaud their
action, since El-Ashraf had slain and imprisoned many influential emirs,
and was generally denounced as an irreligious man, who transgressed
not only against the laws of Islam, but also against those of nature.
Baidara, however, immediately proceeded to mount the throne, and a
strong party, with the Emir Ketboga at its head, was formed against him.
Ketboga called upon El-Ashraf's Mamluks to take vengeance, pursued the
rebels, and killed Baidara. He then returned to Cairo, and, after long
negotiations with the governor of the capital, Muhammed, a younger
brother of El-Ashraf, was proclaimed sultan, with the title of El-Malik

Muhammed en-Nasir occupies such an important place in the history of
these times that the other Moslem princes may easily be grouped around
him. He was only nine years old when he was summoned to be ruler of the
kingdom of the Mamluks. Naturally he was the sultan only in name, and
the real power lay in the hands of Ketboga and Vizier Shujai. These two
lived in perfect harmony so long as they were merely occupied with
the pursuit of their rivals,--not only the friends and followers of
El-Ashraf's murderer, but also the innocent ex-vizier of El-Ashraf,
because he had treated them with contempt and was in possession of
riches for which they were greedy. He shared the fate of the king's
assassins, for, in spite of the intercession of the ladies of the royal
harem, he ended his life on the gallows. But as soon as the two rulers
had got rid of their enemies and appeased their own avarice, their
peaceful union was at an end, for each wished to have complete control
over the sultan. Shujai had the Mamluks of the late sultan on his side;
while Ketboga, who was a Mongol by birth, had with him all the Mongols
and Kurds who had settled in the kingdom during Beybars' reign. A Mongol
warned Ketboga against Shujai, who had made all necessary preparations
to throw his rival into prison, and he immediately was attacked by
Ketboga and defeated after several attempts.

Ketboga's ambition was not yet fulfilled, although he was now supreme
ruler. He first demanded homage as regent; as he met with no opposition,
he conceived the idea of setting the sultan, Nasir, aside; and he hoped
to carry out his plan with the assistance of Lajin and Kara Sonkor,
El-Ashraf's murderers, and their numerous following. He had the pardon
of these two emirs proclaimed, whereupon they left their hiding-places
and joined Ketboga, for it was to their interest also that the sultan
should be put out of the way. This _coup d'état_ was a complete success
(December, 1294), but in spite of these plans, Ketboga's reign was both
unfortunate and brief. The old emirs were vexed with him because he
raised his own Mamluks to the highest posts of honour, and the clergy
were displeased because he received favourably a number of Mongols,
although they were heathens. The people blamed him for the severe famine
which visited Egypt and Syria and which was followed by a terrible
pestilence. Several emirs, with Lajin again at their head, conspired
against him, and forced their way into his tent while he was on the way
to Syria; overpowering the guard, they attempted to get possession of
his person. He managed to escape, however, and so saved his life and
liberty, but Lajin obtained possession of the throne, with the agreement
of the other emirs. In spite of his advantages, both as man and as pious
Moslem, and in spite of his brilliant victories over the princes of
Armenia, Lajin was murdered, together with his successor, and Nasir, who
was then living in Kerak, was recalled as sultan (January, 1299).

Nasir was still too young to reign alone; he had to let himself be
ruled by the emirs who had already assumed a kind of regency before his
return. At the head of these emirs stood Sellar and Beybars Jashingir.
Distrust and uneasiness existed between these two, one of whom was
regent and the other prefect of the palace, for each wanted to assume
the chief power; but soon their private intrigues were put into the
background by a common danger. The Ilkhan Gazan was actively preparing
for war against the Mamluk kingdom because the Governor of Aleppo
had fallen upon Mardin, a town belonging to the Mongols, and brutally
maltreated the inhabitants; also because the refugees from Egypt and
Syria assured him that the moment was favourable for extending his
dominion over these lands.

The internal history of Egypt at this period offers nothing but tedious
strifes between different emirs, and specially between the two most
powerful, Beybars and Sellar, who would have often brought it to open
warfare had not their friends and followers intervened. They agreed,
however, on one point, namely, to keep the sultan as long as possible
from taking over the reins of government, and to keep him as secluded
as possible in order to deprive him of all influence. Whilst Sellar
was wasting immense sums, the sultan was in fact almost starving. When
Sellar went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, he paid the debts of all the
Moslems who had retired to this town; he further distributed ten
thousand malters of fruit amongst the poor people in the town, and so
much money and provisions that they were able to live on it for a whole
year. He also treated the inhabitants of Medina and Jiddah in an equally
generous way. The sultan, who was hunting in Lower Egypt, at the
same time tried in vain to obtain a small loan from the Alexandrian
merchants, to buy a present for his wife. Finally, his vizier, who had
granted him two thousand dinars ($5,060), was accused on Sellar's return
of embezzling the public money, was led round the town on a donkey, and
beaten and tortured so long that he succumbed under his torments.

In the year 1307, when Nasir was twenty-three years old, though still
treated as a child, he attempted, with the help of the Emir Bektimur,
who commanded the Mamluks in the palace, to seize the persons of his
oppressors. The plan failed, for they had their spies everywhere, and
the only result was that the sultan's faithful servants were banished to
Syria, and the sultan himself was more oppressed than ever. It was two
years before he succeeded in deceiving his tyrants. He expressed the
wish to make a pilgrimage to Mecca; this was granted, as the emirs saw
nothing dangerous in it, and, moreover, as a religious duty, it could
not be resisted. As soon as he reached the fortress Kerak, with the
help of those soldiers in his escort who were devoted to his cause,
and having deceived the governor by means of false letters, he obtained
possession of the fortress, and immediately declared his independence of
the guardianship of Sellar and Beybars. Sellar and Beybars, on hearing
this, immediately summoned the sultan to return to Cairo; but, even
before they received his answer, they realised that their rule was over,
and that either they must quit the field, or Nasir must be dethroned.
After long consideration amongst themselves, they proceeded to the
choice of another sultan, and the choice fell on Beybars (April, 1309).
Beybars accepted the proffered throne on the condition that Sellar also
retained his place. He confirmed the other emirs also in their offices,
hoping thereby to gain their support.

[Illustration: 049.jpg INTERIOR OF THE MOSQUE, KILAWUN]

The change of government met with no resistance in Egypt, where the
majority of the emirs had long been dependent on Beybars and Sellar.
In Syria, on the other hand, the emirs acting as governors refused to
acknowledge Beybars, partly from devotion to Nasir's race, and partly
because the choice had been made without their consent. Only Akush,
Governor of Damascus, who was an old friend of Beybars, and like him a
Circassian, took the oath of allegiance. The governors of Aleppo, Hamah,
and Tripoli, together with the governors of Safed and Jerusalem, called
upon Nasir to join them, and, with the help of his other followers,
to reconquer Egypt. The cunning sultan, who saw that the time for open
resistance had not yet arrived, since Egypt was as yet too unanimous,
and Damascus also had joined the enemy, advised them to deceive Beybars
and to take the oath of allegiance, which they could break later, as
having been obtained by force. He himself feigned to submit to the new
government, and even had the prayers carried on from the chancel in
Beybars' name. Beybars was deceived, although he knew with certainty
that Nasir carried on a lively intercourse with the discontented
emirs. He relied chiefly on Akush, who kept a strict watch over Nasir's
movements. The spies of Akush, however, were open to corruption, and
they failed later to take steps to render Nasir harmless at the right
moment. Beybars believed Nasir to be still in Kerak, when he was well
on the way to Damascus; and when he finally received news of this, the
rebellion had already gone so far that some of the troops who had been
sent out against the sultan had already deserted to his side. The only
possible way of allaying the storm was for Beybars to put himself at the
head of his troops, and, joining forces with Akush, to offer battle
to Nasir. The necessary courage and resolution failed him. Instead of
having recourse to the sword, he applied to the caliph, who declared
Nasir an exile, and summoned all believers to listen to the Sultan
Beybars--whom he had consecrated--and to take part in the war against
the rebel, Nasir. But the summons of the caliph, which was read in all
the chancels, had not the slightest effect. The belief in the caliph had
long disappeared, except in so far as he was considered a tool of the
sultan on whom he depended. Even Beybars' party mocked the caliph's
declaration, and wherever it was read manifestations were made in favour
of the exile. Beybars, also, was now deserted by Sellar, and he at
length was obliged to resign. Beybars was then seized and throttled by
Nasir, and Sellar was starved to death.

Nasir, who now came to the throne, had grown suspicious and treacherous
on account of the many hardships and betrayals endured by him during
his youth. He was, however, favourable to the Christians, and to such an
extent that he received anonymous letters reproaching him for allowing
Moslems to be oppressed by Christian officials. He found them to be
experienced in financial matters, for, in spite of all decrees, they
had never ceased to hold secretaryships in different states: they were,
moreover, more unscrupulous than born Muhammedans, who always had
more respect for law, custom, and public opinion. Certainly the sultan
considered the ministers in whom he placed great confidence less
dangerous if they were wow-Moslems, since he was their only support,
whereas comrades in religion could always find plenty of support and
might easily betray him.

Nasir died on the 6th of June, 1341, at about fifty-eight years of age,
after a reign of forty-three years. His rule, which did not actually
begin until he mounted the throne for the third time, lasted thirty-two
years. During this period he was absolute ruler in the strongest sense
of the word; every important affair was decided by him alone. The emirs
had to refer all matters to him, and were a constant source of suspicion
and oversight. They might not speak to each other in his presence,
nor visit each other without his consent. The mildest punishment for
breaking such decrees was banishment to Syria. Nasir inspired them with
fear rather than with love and respect, and, as soon as it was known
that his illness was incurable, no one paid any further attention to
him. He died as a pious Moslem and repentant sinner in the presence
of some of his servants. His burial, which took place by night, was
attended by a few emirs, and only one wax candle and one lamp were
carried before the bier. As one of his biographers justly remarks, the
rich sultan, whose dominion had extended from the borders of Abyssinia
to Asia Minor and up the Euphrates as far as Tunis, and the father of
a large family, ended his life like a stranger, was buried like a poor
man, and brought to his grave like a man without wife or child. Nasir
was the last sultan who ruled over the Bahritic Mamluk kingdom with a
firm hand. After his death we read of one insurrection after another,
and the sultans were either deposed or became mere slaves of the emirs.
Abu Bekr, whom Nasir had appointed his successor, did not hold his own
for quite two months, because he maltreated the discontented emirs
and put his favourites in their places. An insurrection, with the Emir
Kausun at its head, was formed against him; he was dethroned and his
six-year-old brother Kujuk was proclaimed sultan in his stead. The
dethroned sultan was banished to Upper Egypt, whither his elder brother
Ahmed should have been brought; Ahmed, however, refused to leave his
fortress of Kerak, and, finding support among the Syrian emirs, he
conspired against Kausun, who was at this moment threatened also with an
insurrection in Cairo. After several bloody battles, Kausun was forced
to yield, and Ahmed was proclaimed sultan (January, 1342). Ahmed,
however, preferred a quiet, peaceful life to the dangerous post
of sultan, and not until he had received the most solemn oaths of
allegiance did he proceed to his capital, where he arrived quite
unexpectedly, so that no festivities had been prepared. After some time,
he had all the Syrian emirs arrested by his Mam-luks, because they tried
to usurp his powers; he then appointed a regent, and himself returned to
Kerak, taking with him everything he had found in the sultan's palace,
and there he remained in spite of the entreaties of the faithful emirs,
and lived simply for his own pleasure.

The natural consequence of all this was Ahmed's deposition in June,
1342. His brother Ismail, a good-hearted youth of seventeen years, sent
troops to Kerak to demand an oath of allegiance from Ahmed, but
they could effect nothing, as the fortress was well fortified and
provisioned, and, moreover, many of the emirs, both in Syria and Egypt,
were still in league with Ahmed. Not until fresh troops had been sent,
and Ahmed himself betrayed, did they succeed in taking the fortress;
and Ahmed was put to death in 1344. Ahmed's death made such a deep
impression upon the weak sultan that he fell into a fit of depression
which gradually increased until he died in August of the following year.

[Illustration: 055.jpg FRIEZE IN MOSQUE OF SULTAN HASAN]

His brother and successor, Shaban, was an utter profligate, cruel,
faithless, avaricious, immoral, and pleasure-loving. Gladiators
played an important part at his court, and he often took part in their
contests. Horse-racing, cock-fights, and such like amusements occupied
him much more than state affairs, and the whole court followed his
example. As long as Shaban did not offend the emirs, he was at liberty
to commit any atrocities he pleased, but, as soon as he seized their
riches and imprisoned and tortured them, his downfall was certain.
Ilbogha, Governor of Damascus, supported by the other Syrian emirs,
sent him a list of his crimes and summoned him to abdicate. Meanwhile an
insurrection had broken out in Cairo, and, although Shaban expressed
his willingness to abdicate, he was murdered by the rebels in September,
1346. His brother Haji met with a similar fate after a reign of fifteen
months, though some accounts affirm that he was not murdered but only

Haji was succeeded by his brother Hasan, who was still a minor; the
emirs who ruled in his name competed for the highest posts until
Baibagharus and his brother Menjik carried off the victory. These two
ruled supreme for a time. The so-called "black death" was ravaging
Egypt; many families were decimated, and their riches fell to the state.
The disease, which differed from the ordinary pest in the blood-spitting
and internal heat, raged in Europe and Asia, and spread the greatest
consternation even amongst the Moslems, who generally regarded disease
with a certain amount of indifference, as being a divine decree.
According to Arabic sources, the black death had broken out in China and
from there had spread over the Tatar-land of Kipjak; from here it took
its course towards Constantinople, Asia Minor, and Syria on the one
hand, and towards Greece, Italy, Spain, France, and Germany on the
other, and was probably brought to Egypt from Syria. Not only men,
but beasts and even plants were attacked. The ravages were nowhere
so fearful as in Egypt; in the capital alone in a few days as many
as fifteen or twenty thousand people were stricken. As the disease
continued to rage for two years, there was soon a lack of men to plough
the fields and carry on the necessary trades; and to increase the
general distress, incursions were made by the tribes of Turcomans
and Bedouins, who plundered the towns and villages. Scarcely had this
desperate state of affairs begun to improve when court intrigues sprang
up afresh, and only ended with the deposition of the sultan in August,
1351. He was recalled after three years, during which his brother had
reigned, and he was subsequently deposed and put to death in March,
1361. Finally the descendants of Nasir, instead of his sons, began to
rule. First came Muhammed Ibn Haji, who, as soon as he began to show
signs of independence, was declared to be of unsound mind by his chief
emir, Ilbogha; then Shaban, the son of Husain (May, 1363), who was
strangled in March, 1377; and finally Husain's eight-year-old son Ali.
After repeated contests, Berkuk and Berekeh, two Circassian slaves,
placed themselves at the head of the government. Berkuk, however, wished
to be absolute, and soon put his co-regent out of the way (1389). He
contented himself at first with being simply regent, and, even when Ali
died, he declared his six-year-old brother Haji, sultan. The following
year, when he discovered a conspiracy of the Mamluks against him, and
when many of the older emirs were dead, he declared that it was for the
good of the state that no longer a child, but a man capable of directing
internal affairs and leading an army against the enemy, should take over
the government. The assembly, whom he had bribed beforehand, supported
him, and he was appointed sultan in November, 1382.

The external history of Egypt during this time is but scanty. She
suffered several defeats at the hands of the Turcomans in the north of
Syria, lost her supremacy in Mecca through the influence of the princes
of South Arabia, and both Alexandria and several other coast towns were
attacked and plundered by European fleets. This last event occurred
in Shaban's reign in 1365. Peter of Lusignan, King of Cyprus, had, in
league with the Genoese, the Venetians, and Knights of Rhodes, placed
himself at the head of a new Crusade, and since his expedition was a
secret even in Europe,--for he was thought to be advancing against the
Turks,--it was easy for him to take the Egyptians by surprise, and all
the more so because the Governor of Alexandria happened to be absent at
the time. The militia tried in vain to prevent their landing, and the
small garrison held out for but a short time, so that the prosperous and
wealthy town was completely sacked and many prisoners were taken before
the troops arrived from Cairo.

[Illustration: 059.jpg INSIDE THE MOSQUE OF HASSAN]

The Christians living in Egypt suffered from this attack of the King of
Cyprus. They had to find ransom money for the Moslem prisoners and to
provide means for fitting out a new fleet. All negotiations with Cyprus,
Genoa, and Venice were immediately broken off. This event, however, had
the effect of reconciling the Italian traders again with Egypt, and an
embassy came both from Genoa and Venice, expressing regret at what had
happened, with the assurance that the government had had no hint of the
intentions of the King of Cyprus. Genoa also sent back sixty prisoners
who had fallen to them as their share of the Alexandrian booty. As
Egypt's trade would also be at a standstill if they had no further
negotiations with the Franks, who imported wood, metal, arms, oil,
coral, wool, manufacturing and crystal wares in exchange for spices,
cotton, and sugar, the former trade relations were re-established. The
war with Cyprus continued, however; Alexandria was again threatened
and Tripoli was surprised by the Cyprian fleet, whereupon a number of
European merchants in Egypt were arrested. In the year 1370, after the
death of Peter of Lusignan, peace and an exchange of prisoners were
finally brought about. After this peace the Egyptians were able to
concentrate their whole force against Leo VI., Prince of Smaller
Armenia, who was brought as a prisoner to Cairo; and with him the
supremacy of the Christians in this land was at an end: henceforth Egypt
was ruled by Egyptian governors.

Faraj, Berkuk's son and successor, had to suffer for his father's
political mistakes. He had scarcely ascended the throne when the
Ottomans seized Derenda, Albustan, and Malatia. Preparations for war
were made, but given up again when it was seen that Bayazid could not
advance any farther south. Faraj was only thirteen years old, and all
the old intrigues amongst the emirs broke out again. In Cairo they
fought in the streets for the post of regent; anarchy and confusion
reigned in the Egyptian provinces, and the Syrians wished to revolt
against the sultan. When at last peace was re-established in Egypt, and
Syria was reduced, the latter country was again attacked by the hordes
of Tamerlane.

Tamerlane conquered the two important cities of Aleppo and Hemessa, and
Faraj's forces returned to Egypt. When the sultan's ally, Bayazid, was
defeated, Faraj concluded a peace with Tamerlane, at the price of
the surrender of certain lands. In 1405 Tamerlane died, and Faraj was
collecting troops for the purpose of recovering Syria when domestic
troubles caused him to flee from Egypt, his own brother Abd el-Aziz
heading the insurrection. In the belief that Faraj was dead, Aziz was
proclaimed his successor, but three months later Faraj was restored,
and it was not until 1412 that he was charged with illegal practices and
beheaded, his body being left unburied like that of a common malefactor.
The fact that criminal proceedings were brought against the sultan is
evidence of a great advance in the spirit of civilisation, but the
event must be regarded more as a proof of its possibility than as a
demonstration of its establishment.

[Illustration: 063.jpg MOSQUE OF BERKUK]

The Caliph El-Mustain was then proclaimed sultan, but after some months
he was dethroned and his former prime minister, Sheikh Mahmudi, took
over the reins of government (November, 1412). Although Sheikh had
obtained the throne of Egypt so easily, he experienced great difficulty
in obtaining the recognition of the emirs. Newruz, Governor of Damascus,
in league with the other governors, made a determined resistance, and
he was obliged to send a strong army into Syria to put down the rebels.
Newruz, after suffering one defeat, threw himself into the citadel of
Damascus and capitulated, when Sheikh had sworn to keep the terms of
the capitulation. Newruz's ambassadors, however, had not a sufficient
knowledge of Arabic to perceive that the oath was not binding, and
when Newruz, trusting to this oath, appeared before Sheikh, he was
immediately thrown into chains, and afterwards murdered in prison
because the cadis declared the oath was not binding. In the next year
(1415) Sheikh was obliged to make another expedition against Syria to
re-conquer some of the places of which the smaller princes had taken
possession during the civil war. One of these princes was the Prince
Muhammed of Karaman, who had taken the town of Tarsus. Sheikh was
summoned by Muhammed's own brother to overcome him, which he easily
succeeded in doing. Many other princes were forced to submit, and
finally the town of Malatia, which the Turcoman Husain had stormed, was
recaptured. The war against Husain and the Prince of Karaman was to have
been continued, but Sheikh was forced to return home, owing to a wound
in his foot. As soon as certain misunderstandings between Sheikh and
Kara Yusuf had been cleared up, another army was despatched into Asia
Minor, for Tarsus had been recaptured by the Prince of Karaman, who had
driven out the Prince of Albustan, whom Sheikh had installed. Ibrahim,
the sultan's son, took command of this army, and occupied Caasarea,
Nigdeh, and Kara-man. Whilst he was occupied in the interior of Asia
Minor, the Governor of Damascus had defeated Mustapha, son of the Prince
of Karaman, and the Prince Ibrahim of Ramadhan, near Adana, which latter
town, as well as Tarsus, he had re-conquered.

The Prince of Karaman, who now advanced against Caasarea, suffered a
total defeat. Mustapha remained on the field of battle, but his father
was taken prisoner and sent to Cairo, where he lingered in confinement
until after the death of the sultan.

[Illustration: 065.jpg THE TOMB OF BERKUK]

Once again was Syria threatened by Kara Yusuf, but he was soon forced
to return to Irak by the conspiracy of his own son, Shah Muhammed, who
lived in Baghdad. As soon as this insurrection was put down, Kara
Yusuf was obliged to give his whole attention to Shah Roch, the son of
Tamerlane, who had raised himself to the highest power in Persia, and
was now attempting to re-conquer the province of Aderbaijan. Kara Yusuf
placed himself at the head of an army to protect this province,
but suddenly died (November, 1420) on the way to Sultania, and his
possessions were divided among his four sons, Shah Muhammed, Iskander,
Ispahan, and Jihan Shah, who all, just as the descendants of Tamerlane
had done, immediately began to quarrel among themselves.

The sultan was already very ill when the news of Kara Yusufs death
reached him. The death of Ibrahim, his son, whom he had caused to be
poisoned, on his return from Asia Minor, weighed heavily upon him
and hastened his death, which took place on January 13, 1421. He
left immense riches behind him, but could not obtain a proper burial;
everything was at once seized by the emirs, who did not trouble
themselves in the least about his corpse. He had been by no means a good
sultan; he had brought much misery upon the people, and had oppressed
the emirs. But in spite of all he had many admirers who overlooked his
misdeeds and cruelty, because he was a pious Moslem; that is, he did
not openly transgress against the decrees of Islam, favoured the
theologians, and distinguished himself as an orator and poet; he also
founded a splendid mosque, a hospital, and a school for theology. His
whole life abounds in contrasts. After he had broken his oath to Newruz,
he spent several days in a cloister to make atonement for this crime,
and was present at all the religious ceremonies and dances. Although he
shed streams of blood to satisfy his avarice, he wore a woollen garment,
and bade the preachers, when they mentioned his name after that of
Muhammed, to descend a step on the staircase of the chancel. Under a
religious sultan of this stamp, the position of the non-Muhammedans was
by no means an enviable one. The Jews and Christians had to pay enormous
taxes and the old decrees against them were renewed. Not only were they
forced to wear special colours, but the length of their sleeves and
head-bands was also decreed, and even the women were obliged to wear a
distinctive costume.


Sheikh appointed his son Ahmed, one year old, as his successor, and
named the emirs who were to act as regents until he became of age.
Tatar, the most cunning and unscrupulous of these emirs, soon succeeded
in obtaining the supreme power and demanded homage as sultan (August
29, 1421); but he soon fell ill and died after a reign of about three
months. He, too, appointed a young son as his successor and named the
regents, but Bursbai also soon grasped the supreme power and ascended
the throne in 1422. He had of course many insurrections to quell, but
was not obliged to leave Egypt. As soon as peace was restored in Syria,
Bursbai turned his attention to the European pirates, who had long been
harassing the coasts of Syria and Egypt. They were partly Cypriots and
partly Catalonians and Genoese, who started from Cyprus and landed their
booty on this island. Bursbai resolved first to conquer this island.
He despatched several ships with this object in view; they landed at
Limasol, and, having burnt the ships in the harbour and plundered the
town, they returned home. The favourable result of this expedition much
encouraged the sultan, and in the following year he sent out a large
fleet from Alexandria which landed in Famagosta. This town soon
surrendered and the troops proceeded to plunder the neighbouring places,
and defeated all the troops which Prince Henry of Lusignan sent out
against them. When they had advanced as far as Limasol, the Egyptian
commander, hearing that Janos, the King of Cyprus, was advancing with
a large army against him, determined to return to Egypt to bring his
enormous booty into safety. In July, 1426, a strong Egyptian fleet set
out for the third time, landed east of Limasol, and took this fortress
after a few days' fighting. The Moslem army was, however, forced to
retreat. But the Cypriots scattered instead of pursuing the enemy, and
the Mamluks, seeing this, renewed their attack, slew many Christians
and took the king prisoner. The capital, Nicosia, then capitulated,
whereupon the Egyptian troops returned to Egypt with the captive king
and were received with great jubilation. The King of Cyprus, after
submitting to the greatest humiliations, was asked what ransom he could
pay. He replied that he possessed nothing but his life, and stuck to
this answer, although threatened with death. Meanwhile, Venetian and
other European merchants negotiated for the ransom money, and the
sultan finally contented himself with two hundred thousand dinars (about
$500,000). Janos, however, was not set at liberty, but sent to Cyprus
as the sultan's vassal. After the death of Janos in 1432, his son, John
II., still continued to pay tribute to Egypt, and when he died (1458)
and his daughter Charlotte became Queen of Cyprus, James II., the
natural son of John II., fled to Egypt and found a friendly reception at
the sultan's court.


The sultan then ruling was Inal, and he promised to re-install James as
King of Cyprus. Meanwhile messengers arrived from the queen, offering a
higher tribute, and Inal allowed himself to be persuaded by his emirs
to acknowledge Charlotte as queen, and to hand James over to
her ambassadors. But as soon as the ambassadors had left the
audience-chamber, a tumult arose; the people declared that the sultan
had only the advantage of the Franks--especially of Prince Louis of
Savoy--in view, and they soon took such a threatening attitude that
Inal was forced to declare himself for James again and renew his former
preparations. In August, 1460, an Egyptian fleet bore James to Cyprus,
and with the help of the Egyptian troops he soon obtained the island,
with the exception of the fortress Cerines, which Queen Charlotte still
had in her power. The majority of the Egyptian troops now returned to
Egypt, and only some hundred men remained with James. Later, when the
Genoese declared themselves on the side of Charlotte, fresh troops had
to be sent out from Egypt, but, as soon as James had taken Famagosta and
had no further need of them, he dismissed them (1464).

Bursbai despised no means by which he might enrich himself; he
appropriated the greater part of the inheritance of the Jews and
Christians; he even taxed poor pilgrims, in spite of the fact that he
was a pious Moslem, prayed much, fasted, and read the Koran. He turned
Mecca into a money-market. At the very moment when pious pilgrims
were praying for the forgiveness of their sins, one of his heralds was
proclaiming: "Whoever buys wares and does not pay toll for them in Egypt
has forfeited his life." That is to say, all wares bought in Mecca or
Jiddah had to go out of their way to Egypt in order to be laid under
toll in this land.


In appointing his son Yusuf to the consulship, Bursbai counted on the
devotedness of his Mamluks, and the Emir Jakmak, whom he appointed as
his chief adviser, and, in fact, Yusuf's coronation, in June, 1438, met
with no resistance. After three months, however, Jakmak, feeling
himself secure, quietly assumed the sultan's place; at first he had much
resistance to put down, but soon his prudence and resolution established
him safely in spite of all opposition. As soon as the rebels in the
interior had been dealt with, Yusuf, as a good Muhammedan, wished to
attack the Christians, and chose the island of Rhodes as the scene of
the Holy War, hoping to obtain this island as easily as Bursbai had
obtained the island of Cyprus. But the Order of St. John, to whom this
island belonged, had its spies in Egypt, so that the sultan's intentions
were discovered and preparations for defence were made. The only
result of the sultan's repeated expeditions was the devastation of some
unimportant coast towns; all attempts on the capital failed, so that
the siege was soon raised and peace concluded with the chief master of
Rhodes (1444).

Jakmak's relations with the foreign chiefs were most friendly. He
constantly exchanged letters and gifts with both Sultan Murad and Shah
Roch. The sons of Kara Yelek and the princes of the houses of Ramadhan
and Dudgadir submitted to him; also Jihangir, Kara Yelek's grandson and
Governor of Amid, tried to secure his friendship, as did the latter's
deadly enemy, Jihan Shah, the son of Kara Yusuf.

[Illustration: 073.jpg MOSQUE OF KAIT BEY, CAIRO]

Jakmak's rule was mild compared with that of Bursbai, and we hear less
of extraordinary taxes, extortions, executions, and violence of the
Mamluks. Although he was beloved by the people and priests on account
of his piety, he could not secure the succession of his son Osman, in
favour of whom he abdicated fourteen days before his death (February,
1453). Osman remained only a month and a half on the throne; he made
himself odious to the emirs who did not belong to his Mamluks. The
Mamluks of his predecessors conspired against him, and at their head
stood his own Atabeg, the Emir Inal, a former Mamluk of Berkuk.
Osman was warned, but he only mocked those who recommended him to
watchfulness, since he believed his position to be unassailable. He
had forgotten that his father was a usurper, who, although himself a
perjurer, hoped to bind others by means of oaths. His eyes were not
opened until he had lost all means of defence. He managed to hold out
for seven days, after which the citadel was captured by the rebels, and
he was forced to abdicate on the 19th of March. Inal became, even more
than his predecessors had been, a slave to those Mamluks to whom he owed
his kingdom. They committed the greatest atrocities and threatened
the sultan himself when he tried to hold them in check. They plundered
corpses on their way to the grave, and attacked the mosques during the
hours of service in order to rob the pilgrims.

They were so hated and feared that, when many of them were carried off
by the plague, their deaths were recorded by a contemporary historian as
a benefit to all classes of society.

In the hour of his death (26th February, 1461), Inal appointed his son
Ahmed as his successor, but the latter was no more able to maintain
himself on the throne than his predecessors had been, in spite of his
numerous good qualities. He was forced to submit in the strife with his
emirs, and on the 28th of June, 1461, after a reign of four months and
three days, he was dethroned, and the Emir Khosh Kadem, a former slave
of the Sultan Sheikh, of Greek descent, was proclaimed in his stead.
Khosh Kadem reigned for seven years with equity and benignity, and under
one of his immediate successors, El-Ashraf Kait Bey, a struggle was
begun with the Ottoman Turks. On the death of Muhammed II., dissensions
had arisen between Bayazid II. and Jem. Jem, being defeated by Bayazid,
retired to Egypt, which led to the invasion and conquest of Syria,
hitherto held by the Sultan of Egypt. On surrendering Tarsus and Adana
to Bayazid, Kait Bey was suffered to end his days in peace in A.D. 1495.
After many dissensions, the brave and learned El-Ghuri ascended the
throne, and Selim I., the Turkish sultan, soon found a pretext for an
attack upon the Mamluk power. A long and sanguinary battle was fought
near Aleppo, in which El-Ghuri was finally defeated through treachery.
He was trampled to death by his own cavalry in their attempt to escape
from the pursuing Ottomans. With his death, in A.D. 1516, Egypt lost her
independence. Tuman Bey, a nephew of the deceased, fiercely contested
the advance of the Ottomans, but was defeated and treacherously killed
by the Turks.


A long period of Turkish misrule now opened for the ill-fated country,
though some semblance of conciliation was attempted by Selim's
appointment of twenty-four Mamluk beys as subordinate rulers over
twenty-four military provinces of Egypt. These beys were under the
control of a Turkish pasha, whose council was formed of seven Turkish
chiefs, while one of the Mamluk beys held the post of Sheikh el-Beled or
Governor of the Metropolis.

[Illustration: 077.jpg MAUSOLEUM OF EL-GHURI]

For nearly two centuries the Turkish pashas were generally obeyed in
Egypt, although there were frequent intrigues and quarrels on the part
of competing Mamluk beys to secure possession of the coveted post
of Sheikh el-Beled. Towards the middle of the eighteenth century the
authority of the Turkish pashas had become merely nominal, while that
of the beys had increased to such an extent that the government of Egypt
became a military oligarchy. The weakness of the Turks left the way open
for the rise of any adventurer of ability and ambition who might aspire
to lead the Mamluks to overthrow the sovereignty of the Porte.

In the year 1768 the celebrated Ali Bey headed a revolt against the
Turks, which he maintained for several years with complete success. A
period of good but vigorous government lasted Curing the years in which
he successfully resisted the Ottoman power. Ali's generals also gained
for him considerable influence beyond the borders of Egypt. Muhammed Abu
Dhahab was sent by him to Arabia and entered the sacred city of Mecca,
where the sherif was deposed. Ali also despatched an expedition to the
eastern shores of the Red Sea, and Muhammed Bey, after his successes in
Arabia, invaded Syria and wrested that province from the power of the
sultan. The victorious soldier, however, now plotted against his master
and took the lead in a military revolt. As a result of this, Ali Bey
fell into an ambuscade set by his own rebellious subjects, and died from
poisoning m 1786. Thus terminated the career of the famous Mamluk, a man
whose energy, talents, and ambition bear a strong resemblance to those
of the later Mehe-met Ali.

Muhammed Bey, the Mamluk who had revolted against Ali Bey, now tendered
his allegiance to the Porte. To the title of Governor of the Metropolis
was also added that of Pasha of Egypt. He subdued Syria, and died during
the pillage of Acre.

[Illustration: 080b.jpg Bonaparte in Egypt]

     From painting by M. Orange

After his death violent dissensions again broke out. The Porte supported
Ismail Bey, who retained the post of Governor of the Metropolis (Sheikh
el-Beled) until the terrible plague of 1790, in which he perished.

His former rivals, Ibrahim and Murad, now returned; and eight years
later were still in the leadership when the news was brought to Egypt
that a fleet carrying thirty thousand men, under Bonaparte, had arrived
at Alexandria on an expedition of conquest.

[Illustration: 080.jpg]

[Illustration: 081.jpg PAGE IMAGE]


_Napoleon's campaign: Battles of the Pyramids and of Abukir: Siege of
Acre: Kléber's administration: The evacuation of Egypt._

At the close of the eighteenth century Egypt's destiny passed into the
hands of the French. Napoleon's descent upon Egypt was part of his
vast strategic plan for the overthrow of Great Britain. He first of all
notified the Directory of this design in September, 1797, in a letter
sent from Italy. Late in the same year and during 1798 vast preparations
had been in progress for the invasion of England. Napoleon then visited
all the seaports in the north of France and Holland, and found that a
direct invasion of England was a practical impossibility because the
British held command over the sea. The suggested invasion of Egypt was
now seriously considered. By the conquest of Egypt, it was contended,
England would be cut off from the possession of India, and France,
through Egypt, would dominate the trade to the Orient. From Egypt
Napoleon could gather an army of Orientals and conquer the whole of the
East, including India itself. On his return, England would prove to be
too exhausted to withstand the French army at home and would fall a
prey to the ambitions of the First Consul. The Directory assented to
Bonaparte's plans the more readily because they were anxious to keep
so popular a leader, the idol of the army, at a great distance from the
centre of government. While the preparations were in process, no one
in England knew of this undertaking. The French fleet lay in various
squadrons in ports of Italy, from which thirty thousand men were

Bonaparte arrived at Toulon on May 9, 1798. His presence rejoiced the
army, which had begun to murmur and to fear that he would not be at the
head of the expedition. It was the old army of Italy, rich and covered
with glory, and hence had much less zeal for making war; it required all
the enthusiasm with which the general inspired his soldiers to induce
them to embark and proceed to an unknown destination. On seeing him at
Toulon, they were inflamed with ardour. Bonaparte, without acquainting
them with their destination, exhorted the soldiers, telling them that
they had great destinies to fulfil, and that "the genius of liberty,
which had made the republic from her birth the arbitress of Europe,
decreed that she should be so to the most remote seas and nations."

[Illustration: 083 BEDOUINS IN THE DESERT]

The squadron of Admiral Brueys consisted of thirteen sail of the line,
and carried about forty thousand men of all arms and ten thousand
seamen. It had water for one month and provisions for two. It sailed on
the 19th of May, amid the thunders of the cannons and the cheers of the
whole army. Violent gales did some damage to a frigate on leaving the
port, and Nelson, who was cruising with three sail of the line in search
of the French fleet, suffered so severely from the same gales that he
was obliged to bear up for the islands of St. Pierre to refit. He was
thus kept at a distance from the French fleet, and did not see it pass.
It steered first towards Genoa to join the convoy collected in that
port, under the command of General Baraguay d'Hilliers. It then sailed
for Corsica, to call for the convoy at Ajaccio commanded by Vaubois, and
afterwards proceeded to the sea of Sicily to join the division of Civita
Vecchia, under the command of Desaix.

Bonaparte's intention was to stop at Malta, and there to make by the
way a bold attempt, the success of which he had long since prepared by
secret intrigues. He meant to take possession of that island, which,
commanding the navigation of the Mediterranean, became important to
Egypt and could not fail soon to fall into the hands of the English,
unless they were anticipated.

Bonaparte made great efforts to join the division from Civita Vecchia;
but this he could not accomplish until he was off Malta. The five
hundred French sail came in sight of the island on June 9th, twenty-two
days after leaving Toulon. This sight filled the city of Malta with
consternation. The following day (June 10th) the French troops landed
on the island, and completely invested Valetta, which contained a
population of nearly thirty thousand souls, and was even then one of
the strongest fortresses in Europe. The inhabitants were dismayed and
clamoured for surrender, and the grand master, who possessed little
energy, and recollected the generosity of the conqueror of Rivoli at
Mantua, hoping to save his interest from shipwreck, released one of
the French knights, whom he had thrown into prison when they refused to
fight against their countrymen, and sent him to Bonaparte to negotiate.
A treaty was soon concluded, by which the Knights of Malta gave up to
France the sovereignty of Malta and the dependent islands. Thus France
gained possession of the best harbour in the Mediterranean, and one of
the strongest in the world. It required the ascendency of Bonaparte to
obtain it without fighting; and it necessitated also the risk of losing
some precious days, with the English in pursuit of him.

The French fleet weighed anchor on the 19th of June, after a stay of
ten days. The essential point now was not to fall in with the English.
Nelson, having refitted at the islands of St. Pierre, had returned on
June 1st to Toulon, but the French squadron had been gone twelve days.
He had run from Toulon to the roads of Taglia-mon, and from the roads
of Tagliamon to Naples, where he had arrived on June 20th, at the very
moment when Bonaparte was leaving Malta. Learning that the French had
been seen off Malta, he followed, determined to attack them, if he
could overtake them. At one moment, the English squadron was only a few
leagues distant from the immense French convoy, and neither party was
aware of it. Nelson, supposing that the French were bound for Egypt,
made sail for Alexandria, and arrived there before them; at not finding
them, he flew to the Dardanelles to seek them there. By a singular fate,
it was not till two days afterwards that the French expedition came in
sight of Alexandria, on the 1st of July, which was very nearly six weeks
since it sailed from Toulon. Bonaparte immediately sent on shore for the
French consul. He learned that the English had made their appearance
two days before, and, supposing them to be not far off, he resolved that
very moment to attempt a landing. It was impossible to enter the harbour
of Alexandria, for the place appeared disposed to defend itself;
it became necessary, therefore, to land at some distance on the
neighbouring coast, at an inlet called the Creek of the Marabou. The
wind blew violently and the sea broke with fury over the reefs on the
shore. It was near the close of the day, but Bonaparte gave the signal
and resolved to go on shore immediately. He was the first to disembark,
and, with great difficulty, four or five thousand men were landed in
the course of the evening and the following night. Bonaparte resolved
to march forthwith for Alexandria, in order to surprise the place and
to prevent the Turks from making preparations for defence. The troops
instantly commenced their march. Not a horse was yet landed: the staff
of Bonaparte, and Caffarelli himself, notwithstanding his wooden leg,
had to walk four or five leagues over the sands, and came at daybreak
within sight of Alexandria.

That ancient city no longer possessed its magnificent edifices, its
innumerable houses, and its immense population. Three-fourths of it was
in ruins. The Turks, the wealthy Egyptians, the European merchants dwelt
in the modern town, which was the only part preserved. A few Arabs lived
among the ruins of the ancient city: an old wall, flanked by towers,
enclosed the new and the old town, and all around extended those sands
which in Egypt are sure to advance wherever civilisation recedes. The
four thousand French led by Bonaparte arrived there at daybreak. Upon
this sandy beach they met with Arabs only, who, after firing a few
musket-shots, fled to the desert. Napoleon divided his men into three
columns. Bon, with the first column, marched on the right towards the
Rosetta gate; Kléber, with the second, marched in the centre towards the
gate of the Catacombs.

The Arabs and the Turks, excellent soldiers behind a wall, kept up a
steady fire, but the French mounted with ladders and got over the old
wall. Kléber was the first who fell, seriously wounded on the forehead.
The Arabs were driven from ruin to ruin, as far as the new town, and
the combat seemed likely to be continued from street to street, and
to become sanguinary, when a Turkish captain served as a mediator for
negotiating an arrangement. Bonaparte declared that he had not come to
ravage the country, or to wrest it from its ruler, but merely to deliver
it from the domination of the Mamluks, and to revenge the outrages which
they had committed against France. He promised that the authorities of
the country should be upheld; that the ceremonies of religion should
continue to be performed as before; that property should be respected.
On these conditions, the resistance ceased, and the French were masters
of Alexandria. Meanwhile, the remainder of the army had landed. It
was immediately necessary to decide where to place the squadron
safely--whether in the harbour or in one of the neighbouring roads;--to
form at Alexandria an administration adapted to the manners of the
country; and also to devise a plan of invasion in order to gain
possession of Egypt.

At this period the population of Egypt was, like the towns that covered
it, a mixture of the wrecks of several nations,--Kopts, the survivors of
the ancient inhabitants of the land; Arabs, who conquered Egypt from
the Kopts; and Turks, the conquerors of the Arabs. On the arrival of
the French, the Kopts amounted at most to two hundred thousand:
poor, despised, brutalised, they had devoted themselves, like all the
proscribed classes, to the most ignoble occupations. The Arabs formed
almost the entire mass of the population. Their condition was infinitely
varied: some were of high birth, carrying back their pedigree to
Muhammed himself; and some were landed proprietors, possessing traces
of Arabian knowledge, and combining with nobility the functions of the
priesthood and the magistracy, who, under the title of sheikhs, were the
real aristocracy of Egypt.

[Illustration: 091.jpg THE PROPHET MUHAMMED]

     The original of the illustration (upon the opposite page) is
     to be seen in a finely illuminated MS. of the ninth century,
     A. D., preserved in the India Office, London. The picture is
     of peculiar interest, being the only known portrait of
     Muhammed, who is evidently represented as receiving the
     divine command to propagate Muhammedanism.

In the divans, they represented the country, when its tyrants wished
to address themselves to it; in the mosques, they formed a kind of
university, in which they taught the religion and the morality of the
Koran, and a little philosophy and jurisprudence. The great mosque of
Jemil-Azar constituted the foremost learned and religious body in the
East. Next to these grandees came the smaller landholders, composing the
second and more numerous class of the Arabs; then the great mass of the
inhabitants, who had sunk into the state of absolute helots. These last
were hired peasants or fellahs who cultivated the land, and lived in
abject poverty. There was also a class of Arabs, namely, the Bedouins
or rovers, who would never attach themselves to the soil, but were the
children of the desert. These wandering Arabs, divided into tribes
on both sides of the valley, numbered nearly one hundred and twenty
thousand, and could furnish from twenty to twenty-five thousand horse.
They were brave, but fit only to harass the enemy, not to fight him. The
third and last race was that of the Turks; but it was not more numerous
than the Kopts, amounting to about two hundred thousand souls at most,
and was divided into Turks and Mamluks. The Turks were nearly all
enrolled in the list of janizaries; but it is well known that they
frequently had their names inscribed in those lists, that they might
enjoy the privileges of janizaries, and that a very small number of them
were really in the service. Very few of them composed the military force
of the pasha. This pasha, sent from Constantinople, was the sultan's
representative in Egypt; but, escorted by only a few janizaries, he
found his authority invalidated by the very precautions which Sultan
Selim had formerly taken to preserve it. That sultan, judging that
Egypt was likely from its remoteness to throw off the dominion of
Constantinople, and that a clever and ambitious pasha might create there
an independent empire, had, as we have seen, devised a plan to frustrate
such a motive, should it exist, by instituting a Mamluk soldiery; but it
was the Mamluks, and not the pasha, who rendered themselves independent
of Constantinople and the masters of Egypt.

Egypt was at this time an absolute feudality, like that of Europe in
the Middle Ages. It exhibited at once a conquered people, a conquering
soldiery in rebellion against its sovereign, and, lastly, an ancient
degenerate class, who served and were in the pay of the strongest.

Two beys, superior to the rest, ruled Egypt: the one, Ibrahim Bey,
wealthy, crafty, and powerful; the other, Murad Bey, intrepid,
valiant, and full of ardour. They had agreed upon a sort of division
of authority, by which Ibrahim Bey had the civil, and Murad Bey the
military, power. It was the business of the latter to fight; he excelled
in it, and he possessed the affection of the Mam-luks, who were all
eager to follow him.

Bonaparte immediately perceived the line of policy which he had to
pursue in Egypt. He must, in the first place, wrest that country from
its real masters, the Mam-luks; it was necessary for him to fight them,
and to destroy them by arms and by policy. He had, moreover, strong
reasons to urge against them; for they had never ceased to ill-treat the
French. As for the Porte, it was requisite that he should not appear to
attack its sovereignty, but affect, on the contrary, to respect it.
In the state to which it was reduced, that sovereignty was not to be
dreaded, and he could treat with the Porte, either for the cession of
Egypt, by granting certain advantages elsewhere, or for a partition of
authority, in which there would be nothing detrimental; for the French,
in leaving the pasha at Cairo, and transferring to themselves the power
of the Mamluks, would not occasion much regret. As for the inhabitants,
in order to make sure of their attachment, it would be requisite to win
over the Arab population. By respecting the sheikhs, by flattering their
old pride, by increasing their power, by encouraging their secret desire
for the re-establishment of their ancient glories, Bonaparte reckoned
upon ruling the land, and attaching it entirely to him. By afterwards
sparing persons and property, among a people accustomed to consider
conquest as conferring a right to murder, pillage, and devastate, he
would create a sentiment that would be most advantageous to the French
army. If, furthermore, the French were to respect women and the Prophet,
the conquest of hearts would be as firmly secured as that of the soil.

Napoleon conducted himself agreeably to these conclusions, which
were equally just and profound. He immediately made his plans for
establishing the French authority at Alexandria, and for quitting the
Delta and gaining possession of Cairo, the capital of Egypt. It was
the month of July; the Nile was about to inundate the country. He was
anxious to reach Cairo before the inundation, and to employ the time
during which it should last in establishing himself there. He ordered
everything at Alexandria to be left in the same state as formerly; that
the religious exercises should be continued; and that justice should be
administered as before by the cadis. His intention was merely to possess
himself of the rights of the Mamluks, and to appoint a commissioner to
levy the accustomed imposts. He caused a divan, or municipal council,
composed of the sheikhs and principal persons of Alexandria, to be
formed, in order to consult them on all the measures which the French
authority would have to take. He left three thousand men in garrison in
Alexandria, and gave the command of it to Kléber, whose wound was liable
to keep him in a state of inactivity for a month or two. He directed a
young Frenchman of extraordinary merit, and who gave promise of becoming
a great engineer, to put Alexandria in a state of defence, and to
construct there all the necessary works. This was Colonel Cretin,
who, in a short time, and at a small expense, executed superb works at
Alexandria. Bonaparte then ordered the fleet to be put in a place of
security. It was a question whether the large ships could enter the port
of Alexandria. A commission of naval officers was appointed to sound the
harbour and make a report. Meanwhile, the fleet was anchored in the road
of Abukir, and Bonaparte ordered Brueys to see to it that this question
should be speedily decided, and to proceed to Corfu if it should be
ascertained that the ships could not enter the harbour of Alexandria.

After he had attended to all these matters, he made preparations for
marching. A considerable flotilla, laden with provisions, artillery,
ammunition, and baggage, was to run along the coast to the Rosetta
mouth, enter the Nile, and ascend the river at the same time as the
French army. He then set out with the main body of the army, which,
after leaving the two garrisons in Malta and Alexandria, was about
thirty thousand strong. He had ordered his flotilla to proceed as high
as Ramanieh, on the banks of the Nile. There he purposed to join it, and
to proceed up the Nile parallel with it, in order to quit the Delta and
to reach Upper Egypt, or Bahireh. There were two roads from Alexandria
to Ramanieh; one through an inhabited country, along the sea-coast and
the Nile, and the other shorter and as the bird flies, but across the
desert of Damanhour. Bonaparte, without hesitation, chose the shorter.
It was of consequence that he should reach Cairo as speedily as
possible. De-saix marched with the advanced guard, and the main body
followed at a distance of a few leagues. They started on the 6th of
July. When the soldiers found themselves amidst this boundless plain,
with a shifting sand beneath their feet, a scorching sun over their
heads, without water, without shade, with nothing for the eye to rest
upon but rare clumps of palm-trees, seeing no living creatures but small
troops of Arab horsemen, who appeared and disappeared at the horizon,
and sometimes concealed themselves behind sand-hills to murder the
laggards, they were profoundly dejected. They found all the wells, which
at intervals border the road through the desert, destroyed by the Arabs.
There were left only a few drops of brackish water, wholly insufficient
for quenching their thirst.

[Illustration: 097.jpg STREET DOGS]

They had been informed that they should find refreshments at Damanhour,
but they met with nothing there but miserable huts, and could procure
neither bread nor wine; only lentils in great abundance, and a little
water. They were obliged to proceed again into the desert. Bonaparte saw
the brave Lannes and Murat take off their hats, dash them on the sand,
and trample them under foot. He, however, overawed all: his presence
imposed silence, and sometimes restored cheerfulness. The soldiers would
not impute their sufferings to him, but grew angry with those who took
pleasure in observing the country. On seeing the men of science stop to
examine the slightest ruins, they said they should not have been there
but for them, and revenged themselves with witticisms after their
fashion. Caffarelli, in particular, brave as a grenadier, and
inquisitive as a scholar, was considered by them as the man who had
deceived the general and drawn him into this distant country. As he had
lost a leg on the Rhine, they said, "He, for his part, laughs at this:
he has one foot in France." At last, after severe hardships, endured at
first with impatience, and afterwards with gaiety and fortitude, they
reached the Nile on the 10th of July, after a march of four days. At
the sight of the Nile and of the water so much longed for, the soldiers
flung themselves into it, and, bathing in its waves, forgot their
fatigues. Desaix' division, which from the advance-guard had become the
rear-guard, saw two or three hundred Mamluks galloping before it, whom
they dispersed by a few volleys of grape. These were the first that had
been seen, which warned the French that they would speedily fall in with
the hostile army. The brave Murad Bey, having received the intelligence
of the arrival of Bonaparte, was actually collecting his forces around
Cairo. Until they should have assembled, he was hovering with a thousand
horse about the army, in order to watch its march.

The army waited at Ramanieh for the arrival of the flotilla. It rested
till July 13th, and set out on the same day for Chebreiss. Murad Bey was
waiting there with his Mamluks. The flotilla, which had set out
first and preceded the army, found itself engaged before it could be
supported. Murad Bey had a flotilla also, and from the shore he joined
his fire to that of his light Egyptian vessels. The French flotilla had
to sustain a very severe combat. Perrée, a naval officer who commanded
it, displayed extraordinary courage; he was supported by the cavalry,
who had come dismounted to Egypt, and who, until they could equip
themselves at the expense of the Mamluks, had taken their passage
by water. Two gunboats were retaken from the enemy, and Perrée was

At that moment the army came up; it was composed of five divisions, and
had not yet been in action with its singular enemies. To swiftness and
the charge of horse, and to sabre-cuts, it would be necessary to
oppose the immobility of the foot-soldier, his long bayonet, and masses
presenting a front on every side. Bonaparte formed his five divisions
into five squares, in the centre of which were placed the baggage and
the staff. The artillery was at the angles. The five divisions flanked
one another. Murad Bey flung upon these living citadels a thousand or
twelve hundred intrepid horse; who, bearing down with loud shouts and
at full gallop, discharging their pistols, and then drawing their
formidable sabres, threw themselves upon the front of the squares.
Encountering everywhere a hedge of bayonets and a tremendous fire, they
hovered about the French ranks, Fell before them, or scampered off in
the plain at the utmost speed of their horses. Murad Bey, after losing
a few of his bravest men, retired for the purpose of proceeding to the
point of the Delta, and awaiting them near Cairo at the head of all his

This action was sufficient to familiarise the army with this new kind of
enemy, and to suggest to Bonaparte the kind of tactics which he ought to
employ with them. He pursued his march towards Cairo, and the flotilla
ascended the Nile abreast of the army. It marched without intermission
during the following days, and, although the soldiers had fresh
hardships to endure, they kept close to the Nile, and could bathe every
night in its waters.

The army now approached Cairo, where the decisive battle was to be
fought. Murad Bey had collected here the greater part of his Mamluks,
nearly ten thousand in number, and they were attended by double the
number of fellahs, to whom arms were given, and who were obliged to
fight behind the intrenchments. He had also assembled some thousands
of janizaries, or spahis, dependent on the pasha, who, notwithstanding
Bonaparte's letter of conciliation, had suffered himself to be persuaded
to join his oppressors. Murad Bey had made preparations for defence
on the banks of the Nile. The great capital, Cairo, is situated on the
right bank of the river, and on the opposite bank Murad Bey had pitched
his tent, in a long plain extending from the river to the pyramids of

On the 21st of July, the French army set itself in motion before
daybreak. As they approached, they saw the minarets of Cairo shooting
up; they saw the pyramids increase in height; they saw the swarming
multitude which guarded Embabeh; they saw the glistening arms of ten
thousand horsemen resplendent with gold and steel, and forming an
immense line.

[Illustration: GATHERING DATES]

The face of Bonaparte beamed with enthusiasm. He began to gallop before
the ranks of the soldiers, and, pointing to the pyramids, he exclaimed,
"Consider, that from the summit of those pyramids forty centuries have
their eyes fixed upon you."

In the battle of the Pyramids, as it was called, the enemy's force
of sixty thousand men was almost completely annihilated. The Mamluks,
bewildered by European tactics, impaled themselves upon the bayonets
of the French squares. Fifteen thousand men of all arms fell upon the
field. The battle had cost the French scarcely a hundred killed and
wounded; for, if defeat is terrible for broken squares, the loss is
insignificant for victorious squares. The Mamluks had lost their
best horsemen by fire or water: their forces were dispersed, and the
possession of Cairo secured. The capital was in extraordinary agitation.
It contained more than three hundred thousand inhabitants, many of whom
were indulging in all sorts of excesses, and intending to profit by the
tumult to pillage the rich palaces of the beys.

The French flotilla, however, had not yet ascended the Nile, and there
was no means of crossing to take possession of Cairo. Some French
traders who happened to be there were sent to Bonaparte by the sheikhs
to arrange concerning the occupation of the city. He procured a few
light boats, or djerms, and sent across the river a detachment of
troops, which at once restored tranquillity, and secured persons and
property from the fury of the populace.

Bonaparte established his headquarters at Gizeh, on the banks of the
Nile, where Murad Bey had an imposing residence. A considerable store
of provisions was found both at Gizeh and at Embabeh, and the soldiers
could make amends for their long privations. No sooner had he settled
in Cairo than he hastened to pursue the same policy which he had already
adopted at Alexandria, and by which he hoped to gain the country.
The essential point was to obtain from the sheikhs of the mosque of
Jemil-Azar a declaration in favour of the French. It corresponded to
a papal bull among Christians. On this occasion Bonaparte exerted his
utmost address, and was completely successful. The great sheikhs issued
the desired declaration, and exhorted the Egyptians to submit to the
envoy of God, who reverenced the Prophet, and who had come to deliver
his children from the tyranny of the Mamluks. Bonaparte established a
divan at Cairo, as he had done at Alexandria, composed of the principal
sheikhs, and the most distinguished inhabitants. This divan, or
municipal council, was intended to serve him in gaining the minds of the
Egyptians, by consulting it, and learning from it all the details of the
internal administration. It was agreed that similar assemblies should
be established in all the provinces, and that these subordinate divans
should send deputies to the divan of Cairo, which would thus be the
great national divan.

Bonaparte resolved to leave the administration of justice to the cadis.
In execution of his scheme of succeeding to the rights of the Mamluks,
he seized their property, and caused the taxes previously imposed to
continue to be levied for the benefit of the French army. For this
purpose it was requisite that he should have the Kopts at his disposal.
He omitted nothing to attach them to him, holding out hopes to them of
an amelioration of their condition. He sent generals with detachments
down the Nile to complete the occupation of the Delta, which the army
had merely traversed, and sent others towards the Upper Nile, to take
possession of Middle Egypt. Desaix was placed with a division at the
entrance of Upper Egypt, which he was to conquer from Murad Bey, as
soon as the waters of the Nile should subside in the autumn. Each of
the generals, furnished with detailed instructions, was to repeat in
the country what had been done at Alexandria and at Cairo. They were to
court the sheikhs, to win the Kopts, and to establish the levy of the
taxes in order to supply the wants of the army. Bonaparte was also
attentive to keep up the relations with the neighbouring countries,
in order to uphold and to appropriate to himself the rich commerce of
Egypt. He appointed the Emir Hadgi, an officer annually chosen at Cairo,
to protect the great caravan from Mecca. He wrote to all the French
consuls on the coast of Barbary to inform the beys that the Emir Hadgi
was appointed, and that the caravans might set out. At his desire the
sheikhs wrote to the sherif of Mecca, to acquaint him that the pilgrims
would be protected, and that the caravans would find safety and
protection. The pasha of Cairo had followed Ibraham Bey to Belbeys.
Bonaparte wrote to him, as well as to the several pashas of St. Jean
d'Acre and Damascus, to assure them of the good disposition of the
French towards the Sublime Porte. The Arabs were struck by the character
of the young conqueror. They could not comprehend how it was that the
mortal who wielded the thunderbolt should be so merciful. They called
him the worthy son of the Prophet, the favourite of the great Allah, and
sang in the great mosque a litany in his praise.

Napoleon, in carrying out his policy of conciliating the natives, was
present at the Nile festival, which is one of the greatest in Egypt.
It was on the 18th of August that this festival was held. Bonaparte
had ordered the whole army to be under arms, and had drawn it up on the
banks of the canal. An immense concourse of people had assembled, who
beheld with joy the brave man of the West attending their festivals.

It was by such means that the young general, as profound a politician as
he was a great captain, contrived to ingratiate himself with the people.
While he flattered their prejudices for the moment, he laboured
to diffuse among them the light of science by the creation of the
celebrated Institute of Egypt. He collected the men of science and the
artists whom he had brought with him, and, associating with them some of
the best educated of his officers, established the institute, to which
he appropriated a revenue and one of the most spacious palaces in Cairo.

The conquest of the provinces of Lower and Middle Egypt had been
effected without difficulty, and had cost only a few skirmishes with the
Arabs. A forced march upon Belbeys had been sufficient to drive Ibrahim
Bey into Syria, where Desaix awaited the autumn for wresting Upper Egypt
from Murad Bey, who had retired thither with the wrecks of his army.

Fortune was, meanwhile, preparing for Bonaparte the most terrible of all
reverses. On leaving Alexandria, he had earnestly recommended to Admiral
Brueys to secure his squadron from the English, either by taking it into
the harbour of Alexandria, or by proceeding with it to Corfu; and he had
particularly enjoined him not to leave it in the road of Abukir, for it
was much better to fall in with an enemy when under sail than to receive
him at anchor. A warm discussion had arisen on the question whether
the ships of 80 and 120 guns could be carried into the harbour of
Alexandria. As to the smaller ships, there was no doubt; but the larger
would require lightening so much as to enable them to draw three feet
less water. For this purpose it would be necessary to take out their
guns, or to construct floats. On such conditions, Admiral Brueys
resolved not to take his squadron into the harbour. The time which he
spent, either in sounding the channels to the harbour, or in waiting for
news from Cairo, caused his own destruction.

Admiral Brueys was moored in the road of Abukir. This road is a very
regular semicircle, and his thirteen ships formed a line parallel to
the shore, and so disposed that he believed no British ship could pass
between him and the shore, if an attack were made.

Nelson, after visiting the Archipelago, and returning to the Adriatic,
Naples, and Sicily, had at length obtained the certain knowledge of
the landing of the French at Alexandria. He immediately steered in that
direction in order to seek and put to flight their squadron. He sent a
frigate to look out for it, and to reconnoitre its position. The English
frigate, having made her observations, rejoined Nelson, who, being
informed of all the particulars, immediately stood in for Abukir, and
arrived there August 1, 1798, at about six o'clock in the evening.
Admiral Brueys was at dinner. He immediately ordered the signal for
battle to be given; but so unprepared was the squadron to receive the
enemy, that the hammocks were not stowed away on board any of the ships,
and part of the crews were on shore. The admiral despatched officers to
send the seamen on board, and to demand part of those who were in the
transports. He had no conception that Nelson would dare to attack him
the same evening, and conceived that he should have time to receive the
reinforcements for which he had applied.

Nelson resolved to attack immediately, and to push in between the French
ships and the shore at all hazards. "Before this time to-morrow" said
he, "I shall have gained a peerage or Westminster Abbey."

The number of vessels was equal on both sides, namely, thirteen ships
of war. The engagement lasted upwards of fifteen hours. All the crews
performed prodigies of valour. The brave Captain Du Petit-Thouars had
two of his limbs shot off. He ordered snuff to be brought him,
and remained on his quarter-deck, and, like Brueys, waited till a
cannon-ball despatched him. The entire French squadron, excepting the
two ships and two frigates carried off by Villeneuve, was destroyed.
Nelson had suffered so severely that he could not pursue the fugitives.
Such was the famous battle of Abukir, the most disastrous that
the French had ever sustained, and involved the most far-reaching
consequences. The fleet which had carried the French to Egypt, which
might have served to succour or to recruit them, which was to
second their movements on the coast of Syria,--had there been any to
execute,--which was to overawe the Porte, to force it to put up with
false reasoning, and to oblige it to wink at the invasion of Egypt,
which finally, in case of reverses, was to convey the French back to
their country,--that fleet was destroyed. The French ships were burned.
The news of this disaster spread rapidly in Egypt, and for a moment
filled the army with despair. Bonaparte received the tidings with
imperturbable composure. "Well," he said, "we must die in this country,
or get out of it as great as the ancients." He wrote to Kléber: "This
will oblige us to do greater things than we intended. We must hold
ourselves in readiness." The great soul of Kléber was worthy of
this language: "Yes," replied Kléber, "we must do great things. I am
preparing my faculties." The courage of these men supported the army,
and restored its confidence.

Bonaparte strove to divert the thoughts of the soldiers by various
expeditions, and soon made them forget this disaster. On the festival of
the foundation of the republic, he endeavoured to give a new stimulus to
their imagination; he engraved on Pompey's Pillar the names of the first
forty soldiers slain in Egypt. They were the forty who had fallen in
the attack on Alexandria; and the names of these men, sprung from the
villages of France, were thus associated with the immortality of Pompey
and Alexander.

Bonaparte, after the battle of the Pyramids, found himself master of
Egypt. He began to establish himself there, and sent his generals into
the provinces to complete their conquest. Desaix, placed at the entrance
of Upper Egypt with a division of about three thousand men, was directed
to reduce the remnants of Murad Bey's force in that province. It was in
the preceding year (October, 1798), at the moment when the inundation
was over, that Desaix had commenced his expedition. The enemy had
retired before him, and did not wait for him till he reached Sediman;
there, on October 7th, Desaix fought a sanguinary battle with the
desperate remainder of Murad Bey's forces. Two thousand French had to
combat with four thousand Mamluks and eight thousand fellahs, intrenched
in the village of Sediman. The battle was conducted in the same manner
as that of the Pyramids, and like all those fought in Egypt. The fellahs
were behind the walls of the village, and the horse in the plain. The
field of battle was thickly strewn with slain. The French lost three
hundred men. Desaix continued his march during the whole winter, and,
after a series of actions, reduced Upper Egypt as far as the cataracts.
He made himself equally feared for his bravery and beloved for his
clemency. In Cairo, Bonaparte had been named Sultan Kebir, the Fire
Sultan. In Upper Egypt, Desaix was called the "Just Sultan."

Bonaparte had meanwhile marched to Belbeys, to drive Ibrahim Bey into
Syria, and he had collected by the way the wrecks of the caravan of
Mecca, plundered by the Arabs. Returning to Cairo, he continued to
establish there an entirely French administration. Thus passed the
winter between 1798 and 1799 in the expectation of important events.
During this interval, Bonaparte received intelligence of the declaration
of war by the Porte, and of the preparations which it was making against
him with the aid of the English. Two armies were being formed, one at
Rhodes, the other in Syria. These two armies were to act simultaneously
in the spring of 1799, the one by landing at Abukir near Alexandria, the
other by crossing the desert which separates Syria from Egypt. Bonaparte
was instantly aware of his position, and determined, as was his custom,
to disconcert the enemy and to forestall any offensive movement by a
sudden attack. He could not cross the desert which parts Egypt from
Syria in summer, and he resolved to avail himself of the winter for
destroying the assemblages of troops forming at Acre, at Damascus,
and in the principal towns. Djezzar, the celebrated pasha of Acre, was
appointed seraskier of the army collected in Syria. Abd Allah Pasha of
Damascus commanded its advanced-guard, and had proceeded as far as the
fort of El Arish, which is the key to Egypt on the side next to Syria.
Bonaparte resolved to act immediately. He was in communication with the
tribes of the Lebanon. The Druses, Christian tribes, the Mutualis, and
schismatic Muhammedans offered him assistance, and ardently wished for
his coming. By a sudden assault on Jaffa, Acre, and some other badly
fortified places, he might in a short time gain possession of Syria,
add this fine conquest to that of Egypt, make himself master of
the Euphrates, as he was of the Nile, and thus command all the
communications with India.

[Illustration: 112.jpg A FOUNTAIN AT CAIRO]

Bonaparte commenced his march very early in February at the head of
Kléber's, Régnier's, Lannes's, Bon's, and Murat's divisions, about
thirteen thousand strong. He arrived before the fort El Arish on
February 15th, and, after a slight resistance, the garrison surrendered
themselves prisoners, to the number of thirteen hundred men. Ibrahim
Bey, having attempted to relieve it, was put to flight, and, after a
severe march across the desert, they reached Gaza. They took that place
in the sight of Djezzar Pasha, and found there, as in the fort of El
Arish, a great quantity of ammunition and provisions. From Gaza the army
proceeded to Jaffa (the ancient Joppa), where it arrived on March 3rd.
This place was surrounded by a massive wall, flanked by towers, and it
contained a garrison of four thousand men. Bonaparte caused a breach
to be battered in the wall, and then summoned the commandant, who only
answered by cutting off the head of the messenger. The assault was made,
and the place stormed with extraordinary intrepidity, and given up
for thirty hours to pillage and massacre. Here, too, was found a
considerable quantity of artillery and supplies of all kinds. There
were some thousands of prisoners, whom the general could not despatch to
Egypt, because he had not the ordinary means for escorting them, and he
would not send them back to the enemy to swell their ranks. Bonaparte
decided on a terrible measure, the most cruel act of his life.
Transported into a barbarous country, he had adopted its manners, and he
ordered all the prisoners to be put to death. The army consummated with
obedience, but with a sort of horror, the execution that was commanded.

Bonaparte then advanced upon St. Jean d'Acre, the ancient Ptolemais,
situated at the foot of Mount Carmel. It was the only place that could
now stop him. If he could make himself master of this fortress, Syria
would be his. But the ferocious Djezzar had shut himself up there, with
all his wealth and a strong garrison, and he also reckoned upon support
from Sir Sidney Smith, then cruising off that coast, who supplied him
with engineers, artillerymen, and ammunition. It was probable, moreover,
that he would be soon relieved by the Turkish army collected in Syria,
which was advancing from Damascus to cross the Jordan. Bonaparte
hastened to attack the place, in hopes of taking it, as he had done
Jaffa, before it was reinforced with fresh troops, and before the
English had time to improve its defences. The trenches were immediately
opened. The siege artillery sent by sea from Alexandria had been
intercepted by Sir Sidney Smith, who captured seven vessels out of the
nine. A breach was effected, and dispositions were made for the assault,
but the men were stopped by a counterscarp and a ditch. They immediately
set about mining. The operation was carried on under the fire of all
the ramparts, and of the fine artillery which Sir Sidney Smith had taken
from the French. The mine was exploded on April 17th, and blew up only
a portion of the counterscarp. Unluckily for the French, the place had
received a reinforcement of several thousand men, a great number of
gunners trained after the European fashion, and immense supplies. It was
a siege on a large scale to be carried on with thirteen thousand men,
almost entirely destitute of artillery. It was necessary to open a new
mine to blow up the entire counterscarp, and to commence another covered

Bonaparte now ordered Kléber's division to oppose the passage of the
Jordan by the army coming from Damascus. The enemy was commanded by Abd
Allah Pasha of Damascus, and numbered about twenty-five thousand men
and twelve thousand horse. A desperate battle was fought in the plain of
Fouli, and for six hours Kléber, with scarcely three thousand infantry
in square, resisted the utmost fury of the Turkish cavalry. Bonaparte,
who had been making a rapid march to join Kléber, suddenly made his
appearance on the field of battle. A tremendous fire, discharged
instantaneously from the three points of this triangle, assailed the
Mamluks who were in the midst, drove them in confusion upon one another,
and made them flee in disorder in all directions. Kléber's division,
fired with fresh ardour at this sight, rushed upon the village of Eouli,
stormed it at the point of the bayonet, and made a great carnage among
the enemy. In a moment the whole multitude was gone, and the plain was
left covered with dead. During this interval the besiegers had never
ceased mining and countermining about the walls of St. Jean d'Acre. The
siege of Acre lasted for sixty-five days. Bonaparte made eight desperate
but ineffectual assaults upon the city, which were repulsed by eleven
furious sallies on the part of the besieged garrison. It was absolutely
necessary to relinquish the enterprise. The strategic point in the East
was lost.

[Illustration: 116b.jpg Cairo--Eskibieh Quarter]

For two months the army had been before Acre; it had sustained
considerable losses, and it would have been imprudent to expose it to
more. The plague was in Acre, and the army had caught the contagion at
Jaffa. The season for landing troops approached, and the arrival of a
Turkish army near the mouths of the Nile was expected. By persisting
longer, Bonaparte was liable to weaken himself to such a degree as
not to be able to repulse new enemies. The main point of his plan was
effected, since he had rendered the enemy in that quarter incapable of
acting. He now commenced his march to recross the desert.

Bonaparte at length reached Egypt after an expedition of nearly
three months. It was high time for him to return; for the spirit
of insurrection had spread throughout the whole Delta. His presence
produced everywhere submission and tranquillity. He gave orders for
magnificent festivities at Cairo to celebrate his triumphs in Syria. He
had to curb not only the inhabitants, but his own generals and the army
itself. A deep discontent pervaded it. They had been for a whole year
in Egypt. It was now the month of June, and they were still ignorant of
what was passing in Europe, and of the disasters of France. They
merely knew that the Continent was in confusion, and that a new war was
inevitable. Bonaparte impatiently waited for further particulars, that
he might decide what course to pursue, and return, in case of need, to
the first theatre of his exploits. But he hoped first to destroy the
second Turkish army assembled at Rhodes, the very speedy landing of
which was announced.

This army, put on board numerous transports and escorted by Sir Sidney
Smith's squadron, appeared on July 11th in sight of Alexandria, and
came to anchor in the road of Abukir, where the French squadron had been
destroyed. The point chosen by the English for landing was the peninsula
which commands the entrance to the road, and bears the same name. The
Turks landed with great boldness, attacked the intrenchments sword
in hand, carried them, and made themselves masters of the village of
Abukir, putting to death the garrison. The village being taken, it was
impossible for the fort to hold out, and it was obliged to surrender.
Marmont, who commanded at Alexandria, left the city at the head of
twelve hundred men to hasten to the assistance of the troops at Abukir.
But, learning that the Turks had landed in considerable numbers, he did
not dare to attempt to throw them into the sea by a bold attack, and
returned to Alexandria, leaving them to establish themselves quietly in
the peninsula of Abukir.

[Illustration: 119.jpg CAIRO FROM THE LEFT BANK OF THE NILE]

The Turks amounted to nearly eighteen thousand infantry. They had no
cavalry, for they had not brought more than three hundred horses, but
they expected the arrival of Murad Bey, who was to leave Upper Egypt,
skirt the desert, cross the oases, and throw himself into Abukir with
two or three thousand Mamluks.

When Bonaparte was informed of the particulars of the landing, he
immediately left Cairo, and made from that city to Alexandria one of
those extraordinary marches of which he had given so many examples in
Italy. He took with him the divisions of Lannes, Bon, and Murat. He had
ordered Desaix to evacuate Upper Egypt, and Kleber and Régnier, who were
in the Delta, to approach Abukir. He had chosen the point of Birket,
midway between Alexandria and Abukir, at which to concentrate his
forces, and to manouvre according to circumstances. He was afraid that
an English army had landed with the Turks. The next day, the 7th, he was
at the entrance of the peninsula.

Bonaparte made his dispositions with his usual promptitude and decision.
He ordered General D 'Estaing, with some battalions, to march to the
hill on the left, where the one thousand Turks were posted; Lannes to
march to that on the right, where the two thousand others were; and
Murat, who was at the centre, to make the cavalry file on the rear of
the two hills. D'Estaing marched to the hill on the left and boldly
ascended it: Murat caused it to be turned by a squadron. The Turks, at
sight of this, quitted their post, and fell in with the cavalry, which
cut them to pieces, and drove them into the sea, into which they chose
rather to throw themselves than to surrender. Precisely the same thing
was done on the right. Lannes attacked the two thousand janizaries;
Murat turned them, cut them in pieces, and drove them into the sea.
D'Estaing and Lannes then moved towards the centre, formed by a village,
and attacked it in front. The Turks there defended themselves bravely,
reckoning upon assistance from the second line. A column did in fact
advance from the camp of Abukir; but Murat, who had already filed upon
the rear of the village, fell sword in hand upon this column, and drove
it back into Abukir. D'Estaing's infantry and that of Lannes entered the
village at the charge step, driving the Turks out of it, who were pushed
in all directions, and who, obstinately refusing to surrender, had no
retreat but the sea, in which they were drowned.

From four to five thousand had already perished in this manner.
The first line was carried: Bonaparte's object was accomplished. He
immediately followed up his success with desperate fighting to complete
his victory on the moment. The Turks, affrighted, fled on all sides, and
a horrible carnage was made among them. They were pursued at the point
of the bayonet and thrust into the sea. More than twelve thousand
corpses were floating in the bay of Abukir, and two or three thousand
more had perished by the fire or by the sword. The rest, shut up in the
fort, had no rescue but the clemency of the conqueror. Such was that
extraordinary battle in which a hostile army was entirely destroyed.
Thus, either by the expedition to Syria, or by the battle of Abukir,
Egypt was delivered, at least for a time, from the forces of the Porte.

Having arrived in the summer before the inundation, Bonaparte had
employed the first moments in gaining possession of Alexandria and the
capital, which he had secured by the battle of the Pyramids. In the
autumn, after the inundation, he had completed the conquest of the
Delta, and consigned that of Upper Egypt to Desaix. In the winter he had
undertaken the expedition to Syria, and destroyed Djezzar's Turkish army
at Mount Tabor. He had now, in the second summer, just destroyed the
second army of the Porte at Abukir. The time had thus been well spent;
and, while Victory was forsaking in Europe the banners of France, she
adhered to them in Africa and Asia. The tricolour waved triumphant over
the Nile and the Jordan, and over the places which were the cradle of
the Christian religion.

Bonaparte was as yet ignorant of what was passing in France. None of the
despatches from the Directory or from his brothers had reached him,
and he was a prey to the keenest anxiety. With a view to obtaining some
intelligence, he ordered brigs to cruise about, to stop all merchantmen,
and to gain from them information of the occurrences in Europe. He
sent to the Turkish fleet a flag of truce, which, under the pretext of
negotiating an exchange of prisoners, was for the purpose of obtaining
news. Sir Sidney Smith stopped this messenger, treated him exceedingly
well, and, perceiving that Bonaparte was ignorant of the disasters of
France, took a spiteful pleasure in sending him a packet of newspapers.
The messenger returned and delivered the packet to Bonaparte. The latter
spent the whole night in devouring the contents of those papers,
and informing himself of what was passing in his own country. His
determination was immediately taken, and he resolved to embark secretly
for Europe, and on August 22nd, taking with him Berthier, Lannes, Murât,
Andréossy, Marmont, Berthollet, and Monge, and escorted by some of his
guides, he proceeded to a retired spot on the beach, where boats were
awaiting them. They got into them and went on board the frigates, _La
Muiron_ and _La Carrère_. They set sail immediately, that by daylight
they might be out of sight of the English cruisers. Unfortunately
it fell calm; fearful of being surprised, some were for returning to
Alexandria, but Bonaparte resolved to proceed. "Be quiet," said he, "we
shall pass in safety." Like Cæsar, he reckoned upon his fortune. Menou,
who alone had been initiated into the secret, made known in Alexandria
the departure of General Bonaparte, and the appointment which he had
made of General Kléber to succeed him. This intelligence caused a
painful surprise throughout the army. The most opprobrious epithets
were applied to this departure. They did not consider that irresistible
impulse of patriotism and ambition, which, on the news of the disasters
of the republic, had urged him to return to France. They perceived only
the forlorn state in which he had left the unfortunate army, which had
felt sufficient confidence in his genius to follow him.

Kléber was not fond of General Bonaparte, and endured his ascendency
with a sort of impatience, and now he was sorry that he had quitted the
banks of the Rhine for the banks of the Nile. The chief command did
not counterbalance the necessity of remaining in Egypt, for he took no
pleasure in commanding.


Kléber, however, was the most popular of the generals among the
soldiery. His name was hailed by them with entire confidence, and
somewhat cheered them for the loss of the illustrious commander who had
just left them. He returned to Cairo, assumed the command with a sort of
ostentation, and took possession of the fine Arabian mansion which his
predecessor had occupied in the Ezbekieh Place. But it was not long
before the solicitudes of the chief command, which were insupportable
to him, the new dangers with which the Turks and the English threatened
Egypt, and the grief of exile, which was general, filled his soul with
the most gloomy discouragement.

Kléber, together with Poussielgue, the administrator of the army, at
once prepared and addressed despatches to the Directory, placing the
condition of the troops, the finances, and the number of the enemy in
the most melancholy light. These despatches fell into the hands of the
English, and the duplicate reports found their way into the hands of
Bonaparte himself. Bonaparte had left instructions with Kléber to meet
every possible contingency during his absence, even to the necessity of
an evacuation of Egypt. "I am going to France," said he, "either as a
private man or as a public man; I will get reinforcement sent to you.
But if by next spring (he was writing in August, 1799) you have received
no supplies, no instructions; if the plague has carried off more than
fifteen hundred men, independently of losses by war; if a considerable
force, which you should be incapable of resisting, presses you hard,
negotiate with the vizier: consent even, if it must be so, to an
evacuation; subject to one condition, that of referring to the French
government; and meanwhile continue to occupy. You will thus have gained
time, and it is impossible that, during the interval, you should not
have received succour."

The instructions were very sound; but the case foreseen was far from
being realised at the time when Kléber determined to negotiate for the
evacuation of Egypt. Murad Bey, disheartened, was a fugitive in Upper
Egypt with a few Mamluks. Ibrahim Bey, who, under the government of
the Mamluks, shared the sovereignty with him, was then in Lower Egypt
towards the frontier of Syria.. He had four hundred horse. Djezzar
Pasha was shut up in St. Jean d'Acre, and, so far from preparing a
reinforcement of men for the army of the grand vizier, he viewed, on the
contrary, with high displeasure, the approach of a fresh Turkish army,
now that his pashalik was delivered from the French. As for the grand
vizier, he was not yet across the Taurus. The English had their troops
at Mahon, and were not at this moment aggressive. At Kléber's side was
General Menou, who viewed everything under the most favourable colours,
and believed the French to be invincible in Egypt, and regarded the
expedition as the commencement of a near and momentous revolution in the
commerce of the world. Kléber and Menou were both honest, upright men;
but one wanted to leave Egypt, the other to stay in it; the clearest and
most authentic returns conveyed to them totally contrary significations;
misery and ruin to one, abundance and success to the other.

In September, 1799, Desaix, having completed the conquest and
subjugation of Upper Egypt, had left two movable columns for the pursuit
of Murad Bey, to whom he had offered peace on condition of his becoming
a vassal of France. He then returned to Cairo by the order of Kléber,
who wished to make use of his name in those negotiations into which
he was about to enter. During these proceedings, the army of the grand
vizier, so long announced, was slowly advancing. Sir Sidney Smith, who
convoyed with his squadron the Turkish troops destined to be transported
by sea, had just arrived off Dami-etta with eight thousand janizaries,
and on the first of November, 1799, the landing of the first division
of four thousand janizaries was effected. At the first tidings of this
disembarkation, Kléber had despatched Desaix with a column of three
thousand men; but the latter, uselessly sent to Damietta, had found the
victory won,--the Turkish division having been completely destroyed by
General Verdier,--and the French filled with unbounded confidence.
This brilliant achievement ought to have served to encourage Kléber;
unfortunately, he was swayed at once by his own lack of confidence and
that of the army. In this disposition of mind, Kléber had sent one
of his officers to the vizier (who had entered Syria), to make new
overtures of peace. General Bonaparte, with a view to embroiling the
vizier with the English, had previously entertained the idea of setting
on foot negotiations, which, on his part, were nothing more than a
feint. His overtures had been received with great distrust and pride.
Kléber 's advances met with a favourable reception, through the
influence of Sir Sidney Smith, who was preparing to play a prominent
part in the affairs of Egypt. This officer had largely contributed to
prevent the success of the siege of St. Jean d'Acre; he was proud of it,
and had devised a _ruse de guerre_ by taking advantage of a momentary
weakness to wrest from the French their valuable conquest. With this
view, he had disposed the grand vizier to listen to the overtures
of Kléber. Kléber, on his part, despatched Desaix and Poussielgue as
negotiators to Sir Sidney Smith; for, since the English were masters of
the sea, he wished to induce them to take part in the negotiation,
so that the return to France might be rendered possible. Sir Sidney
manifested a disposition to enter into arrangements, acting as "Minister
Plenipotentiary of His Britannic Majesty," and attributing to himself
a power which he had ceased to hold since the arrival of Lord Elgin
as ambassador at Constantinople. Poussielgue was an advocate for
evacuation; Desaix just the reverse. The conditions proposed by Kléber
were unreasonable: not that they were an exorbitant equivalent for what
was given up in giving up Egypt, but because they were not feasible.
Sir Sidney made Kléber sensible of this. Officers treating for a mere
suspension of arms could not include topics of vast extent in their
negotiation, such as the demand for the possession of the Venetian
Islands, and the annulment of the Triple Alliance. But it was urgently
necessary to settle two points immediately: the departure of the wounded
and of the scientific men attached to the expedition, for whom Desaix
solicited safe-conduct; and secondly, a suspension of arms, for the army
of the grand vizier, though marching slowly, would soon be in presence
of the French. It had actually arrived before the fort of El Arish,
the first French post on the frontiers of Syria, and had summoned it to
surrender. The negotiations, in fact, had been going on for a fortnight
on board _Le Tigre_, while floating at the pleasure of the winds off the
coasts of Syria and Egypt: the parties had said all they had to say, and
the negotiations could not be continued to any useful purpose without
the concurrence of the grand vizier. Sir Sidney, availing himself of a
favourable moment, pushed off in a boat which landed him on the coast,
after incurring some danger, and ordered the captain of _Le Tigre_ to
meet him in the port of Jaffa, where Poussielgue and Desaix were to be
put ashore, if the conferences were to be transferred to the camp of the
grand vizier.

At the moment when the English commodore reached the camp, a horrible
event had occurred at El Arish. The grand vizier had collected around
him an army of seventy or eighty thousand fanatic Mussulmans. The
Turks were joined by the Mamluks. Ibrahim Bey, who had some time before
retired to Syria, and Murad Bey, who had descended by a long circuit
from the cataracts to the environs of Suez, had become the auxiliaries
of their former adversaries. The English had made for this army a sort
of field-artillery, drawn by mules. The fort of El Arish, before which
the Turks were at this moment, was, according to the declaration of
General Bonaparte, one of the two keys of Egypt; Alexandria was the

The Turkish advanced-guard having reached El Arish, Colonel Douglas,
an English officer in the service of Turkey, summoned Cazals, the
commandant, to surrender. The culpable sentiments which the officers had
too much encouraged in the army then burst forth. The soldiers in the
garrison at El Arish, vehemently longing, like their comrades, to leave
Egypt, declared to the commandant that they would not fight, and that he
must make up his mind to surrender the fort.

[Illustration: 130.jpg A MODERN FANATIC]

The gallant Cazals indignantly refused, and a struggle with the
Turks ensued. During this contest, the recreants, who insisted on
surrendering, threw ropes to the Turks; these ferocious enemies, once
hoisted up into the fort, rushed, sword in hand, upon those who had
given them admission into the fort, and slaughtered a great number
of them. The others, brought back to reason, joined the rest of the
garrison, and, defending themselves with desperate courage, were most of
them killed. A small number obtained quarter, thanks to that humane and
distinguished officer, Colonel Douglas.

It was now the 30th of December: the letter written by Sir Sidney Smith
to the grand vizier, to propose to him a suspension of arms, had not
reached him in time to prevent the melancholy catastrophe at El Arish.
Sir Sidney Smith was a man of generous feelings: this barbarous massacre
of a French garrison horrified him, and, above all, it made him
fearful of the rupture of the negotiations. He lost no time in sending
explanations to Kléber, both in his own name and that of the grand
vizier, and he added the formal assurance that all hostility should
cease during the negotiations.

Kléber, when informed of the massacre of El Arish, did not manifest as
much indignation as he ought to have done; he was aware that, if he was
too warm upon that subject, all the negotiations might be broken off.
He was more urgent than ever for a suspension of arms; and, at the
same time, by way of precaution, and to be nearer to the theatre of
the conferences, he left Cairo, and transferred his headquarters to
Salahieh, on the very border of the desert, two days' march from El

In the meantime, Desaix and Poussielgue, detained by contrary winds,
had not been able to land at Gaza till the 11th, and to reach El Arish
before the 13th.

The evacuation and its conditions soon became the sole subject of
negotiation. After long discussions it was agreed that all hostility
should cease for three months; that those three months should be
employed by the vizier in collecting, in the ports of Rosetta, Abukir,
and Alexandria, the vessels requisite for the conveyance of the French
army; by General Kléber, in evacuating the Upper Nile, Cairo, and the
contiguous provinces, and in concentrating his troops about the point of
embarkation; that the French should depart with the honours of war;
that they should cease to impose contributions; but that, in return,
the French army should receive three thousand purses, equivalent at that
time to three million francs, and representing the sum necessary for its
subsistence during the evacuation and the passage. The forts of Katieh,
Salahieh, and the Belbeys, forming the frontier of Egypt towards the
desert of Syria, were to be given up ten days after the ratification;
Cairo forty days after.

The terms of the convention being arranged, there was nothing more to
be done but sign it. Kléber, who had a vague feeling of his fault,
determined, in order to cover it, to assemble a council of war, to which
all the generals of the army were summoned. The council met on the 21st
of January, 1800. The minutes of it still exist. Desaix, although deeply
grieved, was swept along by the torrent of popular opinion, gave way
to it himself, and affixed his signature on the 28th of January to the
convention of El Arish.

Meanwhile preparations were being made for departure; Sir Sidney Smith
had returned to his ship. The vizier advanced and took possession,
consecutively, of the entrenched positions of Katieh, Salahieh, and
Belbeys, which Kléber, in haste to execute the convention, faithfully
delivered up to him. Kléber returned to Cairo to make his preparations
for departure, to call in the troops that were guarding Upper Egypt, to
concentrate his army, and then to direct it upon Alexandria and Rosetta
at the time stipulated for embarkation.

While these events were occurring in Egypt, the English cabinet had
received advice of the overtures made by General Kléber to the grand
vizier and to Sir Sidney Smith. Believing that the French army was
reduced to the last extremity, it lost no time in sending off an express
order not to grant any capitulation unless they surrendered themselves
prisoners of war. These orders, despatched from London on the 17th of
December, reached Admiral Keith in the island of Minorca in the first
days of January, 1800; and, on the 8th of the same month, the admiral
hastened to forward to Sir Sidney Smith the instructions which he had
just received from the government. He lost no time in writing to Kléber,
to express his mortification, to apprise him honestly of what was
passing, to advise him to suspend immediately the delivery of the
Egyptian fortresses to the grand vizier, and to conjure him to wait
for fresh orders from England before he took any definite resolutions.
Unfortunately, when these advices from Sir Sidney arrived at Cairo, the
French army had already executed in part the treaty of El Arish.

Kléber instantly countermanded all the orders previously given to the
army. He brought back from Lower Egypt to Cairo part of the troops that
had already descended the Nile; he ordered his stores to be sent up
again; he urged the division of Upper Egypt to make haste to rejoin him,
and gave notice to the grand vizier to suspend his march towards Cairo,
otherwise he should immediately commence hostilities. The grand vizier
replied that the convention of El Arish was signed; that it must be
executed; that, in consequence, he should advance towards the capital.
At the same instant, an officer sent from Minorca with a letter from
Lord Keith to Kléber, arrived at the headquarters. Kléber, fired with
indignation at the demand for surrender, caused Lord Keith's letter
to be inserted in the order of the day, adding to it these few words:
"Soldiers, to such insults there is no other answer than victory.
Prepare for action."

Agents from Sir Sidney had hastened up to interpose between the French
and the Turks, and to make fresh proposals of accommodation. Letters,
they said, had just been written to London, and, when the convention of
El Arish was known there, it would be ratified to a certainty; in this
situation, it would not be right to suspend hostilities, and wait. To
this the grand vizier and Kléber consented, but on conditions that were
irreconcilable. The grand vizier insisted that Cairo should be given up
to him; Kléber, on the contrary, that the vizier should fall back to the
frontier. Under these conditions, fighting was the only resource.

On the 20th of March, 1800, in the plain of Heliopolis, ten thousand
soldiers, by superiority in discipline and courage, dispersed seventy
or eighty thousand foes. Kléber gave orders for the pursuit on the
following day. When he had ascertained with his own eyes that the
Turkish army had disappeared, he resolved to return and reduce the towns
of Lower Egypt, and Cairo in particular, to their duty.

He arrived at Cairo on the 27th of March. Important events had occurred
there since his departure. The population of that great city, which
numbered nearly three hundred thousand inhabitants, fickle, inflammable,
inclined to change, had followed the suggestions of Turkish emissaries,
and fallen upon the French the moment they heard the cannon at
Heliopolis. Pouring forth outside the walls during the battle, and
seeing Nassif-Pasha and Ibrahim Bey, with some thousand horse and
janizaries, they supposed them to be the conquerors. Taking good care
not to undeceive the inhabitants, the Turks affirmed that the grand
vizier had gained a complete victory, and that the French were
exterminated. At these tidings, fifty thousand men had risen in Cairo,
at Bulak, and at Gizeh, and Cairo became a scene of plunder, rapine, and

[Illustration: 137.jpg CITADEL OF CAIRO]

During these transactions, General Friant arrived, detached from
Belbeys, and lastly Kléber himself. Though conqueror of the grand
vizier's army, Kléber had a serious difficulty to surmount to subdue an
immense city, peopled by three hundred thousand inhabitants, partly in
a state of revolt, occupied by twenty thousand Turks, and built in the
Oriental style; that is to say, having narrow streets, divided into
piles of masonry, which were real fortresses. These edifices, receiving
light from within, and exhibiting without nothing but lofty walls, had
terraces instead of roofs, from which the insurgents poured a downward
and destructive fire. Add to this that the Turks were masters of the
whole city, excepting the citadel and the square of Ezbekieh, which,
in a manner, they had blockaded by closing the streets that ran into it
with embattled walls.

In this situation, Kléber showed as much prudence as he had just
shown energy in the field. He resolved to gain time, and to let the
insurrection wear itself out. The insurgents could not fail at length
to be undeceived respecting the general state of things in Egypt, and to
learn that the French were everywhere victorious, and the vizier's army
dispersed. Nassif-Pasha's Turks, Ibrahim Bey's Mamluks, and the Arab
population of Cairo could not agree together long. For all these
reasons, Kléber thought it advisable to temporise and to negotiate.

While he was gaining time, he completed his treaty of alliance with
Murad Bey. He granted to him the province of Sai'd, under the supremacy
of France, on condition of paying a tribute equivalent to a considerable
part of the imposts of that province. Murad Bey engaged, moreover, to
fight for the French; and the French engaged, if they should ever quit
the country, to facilitate for him the occupation of Egypt. Murad Bey
faithfully adhered to the treaty which he had just signed, and began
by driving from Upper Egypt a Turkish corps which had occupied it. The
insurgents of Cairo obstinately refused to capitulate, and an attack by
main force was, therefore, indispensable for completing the reduction of
the city, during which several thousand Turks, Mamluks, and insurgents
were killed, and four thousand houses were destroyed by fire. Thus
terminated that sanguinary struggle, which had commenced with the battle
of Heliopolis on the 20th of March, and which ended on the 25th of
April with the departure of the last lieutenants of the vizier, after
thirty-five days' fighting between twenty thousand French on one side,
and, on the other, the whole force of the Ottoman empire, seconded by
the revolt of the Egyptian towns.

In the Delta all the towns had returned to a state of complete
submission. Murad Bey had driven from Upper Egypt the Turkish detachment
of Dervish Pasha. The vanquished everywhere trembled before the
conqueror, and expected a terrible chastisement. Kléber, who was humane
and wise, took good care not to repay cruelties with cruelties. The
Egyptians were persuaded that they should be treated harshly; they
conceived that the loss of life and property would atone for the crime
of those who had risen in revolt. Kléber called them together, assumed
at first a stern look, but afterwards pardoned them, merely imposing a
contribution on the insurgent villages. Cairo paid ten million francs,
a burden far from onerous for so large a city, and the inhabitants
considered themselves as most fortunate to get off so easily. Eight
millions more were imposed upon the rebel towns of Lower Egypt. The
army, proud of its victories, confident in its strength, knowing that
General Bonaparte was at the head of the government, ceased to doubt
that it would soon receive reinforcements. Kléber had in the plain of
Heliopolis made the noblest amends for his momentary faults.

He entered upon a second conquest, showing clemency and humanity on
all sides, and everywhere he laboured hard to encourage the arts and
industries and agriculture. He assembled the administrators of the army,
the persons best acquainted with the country, and turned his attention
to the organisation of the finances of the colony. He restored the
collection of the direct contributions to the Kopts, to whom it had
formerly been entrusted, and imposed some new customs' duties and taxes
on articles of consumption. He gave orders for the completion of the
forts constructing around Cairo, and set men to work at those of Lesbeh,
Damietta, Burlos, and Rosetta, situated on the sea-coast. He pressed
forward the works of Alexandria, and imparted fresh activity to the
scientific researches of the Institute of Egypt, and a valuable mass of
information was embodied in the great French work, the "Description
de l'Egypte." From the cataracts to the mouths of the Nile, everything
assumed the aspect of a solid and durable establishment. Two months
afterwards, the caravans of Syria, Arabia, and Darfur began to appear
again at Cairo.

But a deplorable event snatched away General Kléber in the midst of his
exploits and of his judicious government. He was assassinated in the
garden of his palace by a young man, a native of Aleppo, named Suleiman,
who was a prey to extravagant fanaticism.

With Kléber's death, Egypt was lost for France. Menou, who succeeded
him, was very far beneath such a task. The English offered to make good
the convention of El Arish, but Menou refused, and England prepared for
an invasion, after attempting vainly to co-operate with the Turks.

Sir Ralph Abercrombie, who had been appointed as British commissioner,
landed with the English army alone at Abukir. After fierce skirmishing,
the French and English met on the plains of Alexandria. In the frightful
conflict which ensued, Sir Ralph Abercrombie was slain, but the battle
ended with the retreat of the French. Damietta surrendered on April
19th. The French were now divided, while Menou hesitated. General
Hutchinson took the place of the deceased British commander. A great
battle was fought at Cairo, which was won by the British, and the
capital itself now fell into their hands. General Hutchinson then
closed in upon Alexandria; and, after hard fighting, Menou at length
surrendered. The French troops were allowed to return to France with all
their belongings, except the artillery, August 27, 1801.


_Mehemet's rise to power: Massacre of the Mamluks: Invasion of the
Morea: Battle of Navarino: Struggle with the Porte: Abbas Pasha,
Muhammed Said, and Ismail Pasha: Ismail's lavish expenditure: Foreign
bondholders and the Dual Control._

From the beginning of the eighteenth century, the destiny of Egypt
was the destiny of one man; he aided the political movements, and
accelerated or retarded social activity; he swayed both commerce and
agriculture, and organised the army to his liking; he was the heart and
brain of this mysterious country. Under the watchful eyes of Europe,
attentive for more than forty years, this Macedonian soldier became the
personification of the nation under his authority, and, in the main, the
history of the country may be summed up in the biography of Mehemet Ali.
If we consider the events of his life, and the diverse roads by which
he reached the apogee of his fortunes, reviewing the scenes, now sombre,
now magnificent, of that remarkable fate, we obtain a complete picture
of Egypt itself, seen from the most intimate, real, and striking point
of view.

According to the most authentic accounts, Mehemet Ali was born in 1768
(a. h. 1182), at Cavala, a seaport in Turkey in Europe. He was yet
very young when he lost his father, Ibrahim Agha, and soon after this
misfortune, his uncle and sole remaining relative, Tussun-Agha, was
beheaded by order of the Porte. Left an orphan, Mehemet Ali was adopted
by the Tchorbadji of Praousta, an old friend of his father, who brought
him up with his own son. The boy spent his early youth in the discharge
of unimportant military duties, where, however, he frequently found
opportunity to display his intelligence and courage. He was even able to
render many services to his protector in the collecting of taxes, which
was always a difficult matter in Turkey, and occasionally necessitated a
regular military expedition.

Anxious to reward Mehemet for all his services, and also doubtless
desirous of a still closer connection, the aged Tchorbadji married him
to his daughter. This was the beginning of the young man's success; he
was then eighteen years old. Dealings with a French merchant of Cavala
had inspired him with a taste for commerce, and, devoting himself to it,
he speculated with much success, chiefly in tobacco, the richest product
of his country.

This period of his life was not without its influence upon Egypt, for we
know how strenuously the pasha endeavoured to develop the commercial and
manufacturing industries.

The French invasion surprised him in the midst of these peaceful
occupations. The Porte, having raised an army in Macedonia, ordered the
Tchorbadji to furnish a contingent of three hundred men, who entrusted
the command of this small force to his son Ali Agha, appointing Mehemet
Ali, whose merit and courage he fully appreciated, as his lieutenant.
The Macedonain recruits rejoined the forces of the pasha-captain, and
landed with the grand vizier at Abukir, where was fought that battle
which resulted in victory for France and the complete defeat of the
sultan's army. Completely demoralised by this overthrow, Ali Agha left
Mehemet Ali in command of his troops, and quitted the army.

It is well to consider in a brief survey the state of the country at
the moment when the incapacity of General Menou compelled the French to
withdraw from Egypt. Arrayed against each other were the troops of the
sultan, numbering four thousand Albanians and those forces sent from
England under the command of Admiral Keith, on one side; and on the
other were the Mamluks striving for supremacy; and it was a question
whether this powerful force would once more rule Egypt as before the
French invasion, or whether the country would again fall under the
dominion of the Porte.

There was occasion for anxiety among the Mamluks themselves; their
two principal beys, Osman-Bardisi and Muhammed el-Elfi, instead of
strengthening their forces by acting in concert, as Murad Bey and
Ibrahim Bey had done before the French occupation, permitted their
rivalry for power so completely to absorb them that it was finally the
means of encompassing their ruin and that of their party.

The first pasha invested with the viceroyalty of Egypt after the
departure of the French troops was Muhammed Khusurf, who faithfully
served the Porte. His government was able and zealous, but the
measures he employed against his haughty antagonists lacked the lofty
intelligence indispensable to so difficult a task. Muhammed Khusurf,
whose rivalry with Mehemet Ali had for some years attracted European
attention, found himself at last face to face with his future opponent.

Mehemet Ali, by dint of hard work and the many important services
rendered to his country, had passed through successive stages of
promotion to the rank of serchime, which gave him the command of three
or four thousand Albanians. Foreseeing his opportunity, he had employed
himself in secretly strengthening his influence over his subordinates;
he allied himself with the Mam-luks, opened the gates of Cairo to them,
and, joining Osman-Bardisi, marched against Khusurf. He pursued the
viceroy to Damietta, taking possession of the town, conducted his
prisoner to Cairo, where he placed him in the custody of the aged
Ibrahim Bey, the Nestor of the Mamluks (1803).

At this moment, the second Mamluk bey, Muhammed el-Elfi, returned from
England, whither he had accompanied the British to demand protection
when they evacuated Alexandria in March of the same year, and landed
at Abukir. This arrival filled Bardisi with the gravest anxiety, for
Muhammed el-Elfi was his equal in station, and would share his power
even if he did not deprive him of the position he had recently acquired
through his own efforts. These fears were but too well founded. Whilst
Bardisi was securing his position by warfare, el-Elfi had gained the
protection of England, and, as its price, had pledged himself to much
that would compromise the future of Egypt.

Far from openly joining one or other of the rival parties, Mehemet Ali
contented himself with fanning the flame of their rivalry. The rank
of Albanian captain, which gave him the air of a subaltern, greatly
facilitated the part he intended to play. He worked quietly and with
unending perseverance. Flattering the ambitions of some, feeding
the resentment of others, winning the weak-minded with soft words,
overcoming the strong by his own strength; presiding over all the
revolutions in Cairo, upholding the cause of the pashas when the Mamluks
needed support, and, when the pasha had acquired a certain amount of
power, uniting himself with the Mamluk against his allies of yesterday;
above all, neglecting nothing which could secure him the support of the
people, and making use for this end of the sheikhs and Oulemas, whom
he conciliated, some by religious appearances, others by his apparent
desire for the public good, he thus maintained his position during the
numerous changes brought about by the respective parties.

At length, in the beginning of March, 1805, as the people were beginning
to weary of disturbances as violent as they were frequent, Mehemet Ali
promised the sheikhs to restore peace and order if they would assure him
their co-operation and influence. He then incited a revolt against the
Oulemas, besieged Kourshyd Pasha in the citadel, made himself master of
Cairo in the space of a few days, and finished his work by expelling
the Mamluks. The Albanians and Oulemas, completely carried away by his
valour and manouvres, proclaimed him pasha immediately. Always prudent,
and anxious to establish his claims upon the favour of the Porte,
Mehemet Ali feigned to refuse. After considerable hesitation, which
gave way before some costly gifts, or possibly on consideration of the
difficulties hitherto experienced in establishing the authority of the
pashas, the Turkish government determined to confirm the choice of
the Egyptian people. Mehemet Ali received, therefore, the firman of
investiture on July 9,1805; but during the ensuing seven months he
governed in Lower Egypt only, Alexandria still being under the authority
of an officer delegated by the sultan. As for Upper Egypt, it had
remained the appanage of the Mamluk beys, who had contrived to retain
possession of the Saïd.

Mehemet Ali had no sooner been proclaimed than Elfi, who had reorganised
his party in Upper Egypt, did all in his power to overthrow the
new pasha. He first offered to assist Kourshyd to regain his former
position; he promised his allegiance to the Porte on condition of the
dismissal of Mehemet Ali, and then turned his attention to England. He
found difficulty in obtaining her concurrence by promising to give up
the chief ports of Egypt. These negotiations, suspended the first time
by M. Dro-vetti, the French consul at Alexandria, co-operating with the
pasha, were again renewed some time after through the influence of
the English ambassador, who, in the name of his country, demanded the
re-establishment of the Mamluks, guaranteeing the fidelity of Elfi. The
Porte at once sent a fleet to Egypt bearing a firman, appointing Mehemet
Ali to the pashalic of Salonica. At this juncture, the viceroy, feeling
sure of the support of the sheikhs, who had assisted him to his present
position, only sought to temporise. He soon received the further
support of the Mamluk beys of Bardisi's party, who forgot their personal
grievances in the desire to be revenged upon the common foe; at the same
time, twenty-five French Mamluks, urged thereto by M. Drovetti, deserted
the ranks of Elfi's adherents and joined Mehemet Ali.

The Pasha of Egypt possessed a zealous partisan in the French ambassador
at Constantinople. The latter, perceiving that the secession of
the Mamluks made the regaining of their former power an absolute
impossibility, pleaded the cause of Mehemet Ali with the Porte, and
obtained a firman re-establishing his viceroyalty, on condition of his
payment of an annual tribute of about $1,000,000.

The power of Mehemet Ali was beginning to be more firmly established,
and the almost simultaneous deaths of Osman-Bardisi and Muhammed el-Elfi
(November, 1806, and January, 1807) seemed to promise a peaceful future,
when, on March 17th, the English, displeased at his reconciliation with
the Porte, arrived in Egypt. Their forces numbered some seven or eight
thousand men, and it was the intention to stir up the Mamluks and
render them every assistance. A detachment of the English forces, led
by General Fraser, took possession of Alexandria, which the English
occupied for six months without being able to attempt any other
enterprise. The remainder of the troops were cut to pieces at Rosetta by
a small contingent of Albanians: thus ended the expedition. The viceroy,
who at the beginning of the campaign had displayed really Oriental
cruelty, and sent more than a thousand heads of English soldiers to
Cairo to decorate Rumlieh, finished his operations by an act of European
generosity, and delivered up his prisoners without demanding ransom. The
plan of defence adopted by the pasha was the work of Drovetti, to whom,
consequently, is due some of the glory of this rapid triumph.

Mehemet Ali, having nothing further to fear from the English, who
evacuated Egypt in September, 1807, began to give scope to his ambitious
schemes, when the easily disturbed policy of the Porte saw fit to send
the wily pasha against the Wahabis, who threatened to invade the Holy
Places. Before obeying these injunctions, the viceroy deemed it wise,
previous to engaging in a campaign so perilous, to ensure Egypt against
the dangers with which, in the absence of the forces, she would be

[Illustration: 151.jpg MOSQUE OF MEHEMIT ALI]

But Egypt had no more powerful enemies than the Mamluks, who, since
1808, had kept the country in a constant state of agitation. Mehemet Ali
therefore determined to put an end to this civil war, root and branch,
and to exterminate completely this formidable adversary. He did not
hesitate in the choice of means. War would not have succeeded; murder,
therefore, was the only alternative, and the viceroy adopted this
horrible means of accomplishing his designs. He invited the entire
Mam-luk corps to a banquet, which he proposed to give in the Citadel
Palace in honour of the departure of Tussun Pasha for Mecca. This palace
is built upon a rock, and is reached by perpendicular paths. On May 1st,
the day fixed upon for the festivity, Mehemet Ali received his guests
in great splendour and with a cordiality calculated to dispel any
suspicions the Mamluks might have entertained. At the conclusion of
the banquet, as they were returning home, they were fired upon in the
narrow pass, where retreat and resistance were perfectly impossible.
Thus, after having defeated the bravest troops in the world, they died
obscurely, ingloriously, and unable to defend themselves. Hassan Bey,
brother of the celebrated Elfi, spurred his horse to a gallop, rode over
the parapets, and fell, bruised and bleeding, at the foot of the walls,
where some Arabs saved him from certain death by aiding his flight. The
few who escaped massacre took refuge in Syria or Dongola.

Whilst this horrible drama was being enacted in Cairo, similar scenes
were taking place in those provinces whose governors had received
stringent commands to butcher every remaining Mamluk in Egypt. THUs
nearly all perished, and that famous corps was destroyed for ever.

Although Mehemet Ali had no doubt whatever as to the intentions which
had prompted the Porte to organise the expedition against the Wahabis,
he hastened to prepare for this lengthy war. Mehemet himself was in
command of an army in the Hedjaz when Latif Pasha arrived, bearing a
firman of investiture to the pashalic of Egypt. Luckily, Mehemet Ali on
his departure had left behind him, as vekyl, a trustworthy man devoted
to his interests, namely, Mehemet Bey. This faithful minister pretended
to favour the claims of Latif Pasha, and then arrested him, and had him
publicly executed.

From this moment the real reign of Mehemet Ali begins. Possessed of a
fertile country, he promptly began to consider the ways and means of
improving the deplorable state of its finances, and to grasp all the
resources which agriculture and commerce could yield for the realisation
of his ambitious schemes. Nothing must be neglected in the government of
a country for so many years the scene of incessant warfare; the labourer
must be made to return to the field he had deserted during the time
of trouble; political and civil order must be reestablished so as to
reassure the inhabitants, and secure the resumption of long abandoned

The most important matter was to restrain the depredations of the
Bedouins, and, to assure the obedience of these hitherto unsubdued
tribes, he kept their sheikhs as hostages: at the same time he checked
the delinquencies of the Kopts, in whose hands the government of the
territories had been from time immemorial. A sure and certain peace thus
having been ensured to the interior of the country, the pasha turned his
attention to another enterprise, the accomplishment of which is always
somewhat difficult after a lengthy crisis. He wished to encourage and
regulate the payment of taxes without hindering the financial operations
of private individuals. To this end, he re-established the custom of
receiving tribute in kind, and to support the payment of this tribute he
organised the export trade. A thousand vessels built at his own expense
ploughed the waters of the Nile in all directions, and conveyed Egyptian
produce to the shores of the Mediterranean, where huge warehouses stored
the goods destined for foreign countries.

Mehemet Ali preserved a continual intercourse with foreign merchants,
and the country owed many fortunate innovations to these relations:
agriculture was enriched by several productions hitherto unknown.
A Frenchman, M. Jumel, introduced improvements in the production of
cotton, whilst M. Drovetti, the pasha's tried friend, helped to further
the establishment of manufactories by his advice and great experience of
men and things. Before long, cotton mills were built, cloth factories, a
sugar refinery, rum distillery, and saltpetre works erected. The foreign
trade despatched as much as seven million _ardebs_ of cereals every
year, and more than six hundred thousand bales of cotton. In return,
European gold flowed into the treasury of this industrious pasha, and
the revenues of Egypt, which hitherto had never exceeded $150,000,000,
were more than doubled in 1816.

The very slight success which Mehemet Ali had obtained when commanding
the irregular forces during the expedition against the Wahabis decided
him to put a long-cherished idea into execution, namely, to organise an
army on European lines. Henceforth this became the sole occupation of
the enterprising pasha and the exclusive goal of his perseverance.
The Nizam-Jedyd was proclaimed in the month of July, 1815, and all the
troops were ordered to model themselves after the pattern of the French

This large undertaking, which in 1807 had cost Selim III. his life,
proved almost as fatal to Mehemet Ali. A terrible insurrection broke
out amongst the alien soldiers, who principally composed the army; the
infuriated troops rose against the tyrant and the unbeliever, the palace
was pillaged, and the pasha had scarcely time to seek the shelter of his
citadel. His only means of saving his life and recovering his authority
was solemnly to promise to abandon his plan. Mehemet Ali therefore
deferred his military schemes and awaited the opportunity to test its
success upon the natives, who would be far more easily managed than the
excitable strangers, brought up as they were on the old traditions of
the Okaz and the Mamluks. The war which still raged in Arabia gave
him the means of ridding himself of the most indomitable men, whom he
despatched to Hedjaz under the command of Ibrahim Pasha, his eldest son.

Now came success to console Mehemet Ali for the failure of his
reformatory plans. After a long series of disasters, Ibrahim succeeded,
in the year 1818, in taking Abd Allah Ibn-Sonud, the chief of the
Wahabis, prisoner. He sent him to the Great Pasha, a name often applied
to Mehemet Ali in Egypt, at Cairo, bearing a portion of the jewels
taken from the temple at Mecca. The unfortunate man was then taken
to Constantinople, where his punishment bore testimony to the victory
rather than the clemency of his conquerors.

In reward for his services, the sultan sent Ibrahim a mantle of honour
and named him Pasha of Egypt, which title conferred on him the highest
rank among the viziers and pashas, and even placed him above his own
father in the hierarchy of the dignitaries of the Turkish Empire. At the
same time Mehemet Ali was raised to the dignity of khan, an attribute
of the Ottomans, and the greatest distinction obtainable for a pasha,
inasmuch as it was formerly exclusively reserved for the sovereigns of
the Crimea.

[Illustration: 157.jpg THE COTTON PLANT]

After destroying Daryeh, the capital of Nedj, Mehemet Ali conceived
the idea of extending his possessions in the interior of Africa, and
of subduing the country of the negroes, where he hoped to find much
treasure. He accordingly sent his son, Ishmail Pasha, with five thousand
men, upon this expedition, which ended most disastrously with the murder
of Ishmail and his guard by Melek Nemr, and the destruction of the
remainder of his forces.

In the year 1824, Sultan Mahmud, realising the impossibility of putting
down the Greek insurrection by his own unaided forces, bent his pride
sufficiently to ask help of his vassal Mehemet Ali. Mehemet was now in
possession of a well-drilled army and a well-equipped fleet, which were
placed at the service of the sultan, who promised him in return the
sovereignty of Crete, the pashalic of Syria, and possibly the reversion
of Morea for his son Ibrahim. The Greeks, deceived by their easy
successes over the undisciplined Turkish hosts, failed to realise
the greatness of the danger which threatened them. The Egyptian fleet
managed, without serious opposition, to enter the Archipelago, and, in
December, 1824, Ibrahim, to whom Mehemet Ali had entrusted the supreme
command of the expedition, established his base in Crete, within
striking distance of the Greek mainland. The following February he
landed with four thousand regular infantry and five hundred cavalry at
Modon, in the south of Morea.

The Greeks were utterly unable to hold their own against the
well-disciplined fellaheen of Ibrahim Bey, and, before the end of
the year, the whole of the Peloponnesus, with the exception of a few
strongholds, was at the mercy of the invader, and the report was spread
that Ibrahim intended to deport the Greek population and re-people the
country with Moslem negroes and Arabs.

The only barrier opposed to the entire extinction of the Greek
population was their single stronghold of Missolonghi, which was now
besieged by Rashid Pasha and the Turks. If Ibrahim had joined his forces
with the besieging army of the Turks, Missolonghi could hardly have
resisted their combined attack, and the Greek race would have been in
danger of suffering annihilation.

Meanwhile the Great Powers of Europe were seriously concerned with
this threatened destruction of the Greeks. England proposed a joint
intervention in defence of Greece on the part of the Powers, but Russia
desired to act alone. A huge army was gradually concentrated upon the
Turkish frontier. The Greek leaders now offered to place Greece
under British protection, and the Duke of Wellington was sent to St.
Petersburg to arrange the terms of the proposed joint intervention. A
protocol was signed at St. Petersburg April 4, 1826, whereby England
and Russia pledged themselves to cooperate in preventing any further
Turco-Egyptian agression. A more definite agreement was reached in
September, aiming at the cutting off of Ibrahim in Morea by a united
European fleet, thus forcing the Turks and Egyptians to terms. On July
6,1827, a treaty was signed at London, between England, France, and
Russia, which empowered the French and English admirals at Smyrna to
part the combatants--by peaceful means if possible, and if not, by

Admiral Codrington at once sailed to Nauplia. The Greeks were willing to
accept an armistice, but the Turks scorned the offer. At about this
time an Egyptian fleet of ninety-two vessels sailed from Alexandria and
joined the Ottoman fleet in the bay of Navarino (September 7th). Five
days later Admiral Codrington arrived and informed the Turkish admiral
that any attempt to leave the bay would be resisted by force. French
vessels had also arrived, and Ibrahim agreed not to leave the bay
without consulting the sultan. A Greek flotilla having destroyed a
Turkish flotilla, Ibrahim took this as a breach of the convention and
sailed out to sea, but Codrington succeeded in turning him back. Ibrahim
now received instructions from the Porte to the effect that he should
defy the Powers. A new ultimatum was at once presented and the
allied fleet of the European Powers entered the bay of Navarino. The
Turco-Egyptian fleet was disposed at the bottom of the bay in the form
of a crescent. Without further parleying, as the fleet of the English
and their allies approached, the Turks and Egyptians began to fire, and
a battle ensued, apparently without plan on either side: the conflict
soon became general, and Admiral Codrington in the _Asia_ opened a
broadside upon the Egyptian admiral, and quickly reduced his vessel to
a wreck. Other vessels in rapid succession shared the same fate, and the
conflict raged with great fury for four hours. When the smoke cleared
off, the Turks and Egyptians had disappeared, and the bay was strewn
with fragments of their ships.

[Illustration: 161.jpg A DISTINGUISHED EGYPTIAN JEW]

Admiral Codrington now made a demonstration before Alexandria, and
Mehemet Ali gladly withdrew his forces from co-operating with such a
dangerous ally as the sultan had proved himself to be. Before the French
expedition, bound for the Morea, had arrived, all the Egyptian forces
had been withdrawn from the Peloponnesus, and the French only arrived
after the Anglo-Egyptian treaty had been signed August 9, 1828.

Mehemet Ali's chief ambition had always been to enlarge the circle
of regeneration in the East. In Morea he had failed through European
intervention. He felt that his nearer neighbour, Syria, which he had
long coveted, would be an easier conquest, and he made the punishment of
Abdullah Pasha of Acre, against whom he had many grievances, his excuse
to the Porte. In reality it was a case of attacking or being attacked.
Through a firman of the Divan of Constantinople, which had been
published officially to the European Powers, he knew that his secret
relations with Mustapha Pasha of Scodra had become known. He knew also
that letters had been intercepted in which he offered this pasha money,
troops, and ammunition, while engaging himself to march on the capital
of the empire, and that these letters were now in the hand of the Sultan
Mahmud. He wras also informed that the Porte was preparing to send a
formidable army to Egypt; and his sound instinct taught him what to do
in this position.

Ibrahim Pasha was appointed commander-in-chief of the invading army,
which was composed of six regiments of infantry, four of cavalry,
forty field-pieces, and many siege-pieces. Provisions, artillery, and
ammunition were on board the men-of-war. Thousands of baggage camels and
ambulances were being collected ready for departure when cholera broke
out. Coming from India, after having touched along the coasts of the
Persian Gulf, it had penetrated into the caravan to Mecca, where the
heat and dearth of water had given it fresh intensity. It raged in the
Holy Town, striking down twenty thousand victims, and touched at Jeddah
and Zambo, where its effects were very dire. Passing through Suez, it
decimated the population, and in August it reached Cairo and spread to
Upper and Lower Egypt. The army did not escape the common scourge, and
when about to invade Syria was overtaken by the epidemic. Five thousand
out of ninety thousand perished. All preparations for the expedition
were abandoned until a more temperate season improved the sanitary

About the beginning of October, 1831, the viceroy gave orders to his son
to prepare for departure, and on November 2d the troops started for
El Arish, the general meeting-place of the army. Ibrahim Pasha went
to Alexandria, whence he embarked with his staff and some troops
for landing. Uniting at El Arish, the army marched on Gaza and took
possession of that town, dispersing some soldiers of the Pasha of Acre.
Thence it turned to Jaffa, where it met with no resistance, the Turkish
garrison having already evacuated the town.

At this time the army which had sailed from Alexandria was cruising
about the port of Jaffa, and Ibrahim Pasha landed there and took over
the command of the army, which advanced slowly on St. Jean d'Acre,
seizing Caiffa to facilitate the anchoring of the fleet, which had
landed provisions, artillery, and all kinds of ammunition. After six
months' siege and ten hours' fighting, Ibrahim Pasha obtained possession
of St. Jean d'Acre, under whose walls fell so many valiant crusaders,
and which, since the repulse of Napoleon, had passed for all but
impregnable. Abdullah Pasha evinced a desire to be taken to Egypt, and
he landed at Alexandria, where he was warmly welcomed by the viceroy,
who complimented him on his defence.

Hostile in everything to Mehemet Ali, the Porte seized every opportunity
of injuring him. When Sultan Mahmud learned of the victory of the
viceroy's troops in Syria, he sent one of his first officers to enquire
the reason of this invasion. The viceroy alleged grievances against the
Pasha of Acre, to which his Highness replied that he alone had the right
to punish his subjects.

The eyes of Europe were now fixed upon the Levant, where a novel
struggle was going on between vassal and suzerain. Authority and liberty
were again opposing each other. The Powers watched the struggle with
intense interest. The viceroy protested against bearing the cost of
the war, and demanded the investiture of Syria. Mehemet Ali was then
declared a rebel, and a firman was issued against him, in support of
which excommunication an army of sixty thousand men advanced across Asia
Minor to the Syrian boundaries, while a squadron of twenty-five sail
stood in the Dardanelles ready to weigh anchor.

[Illustration: 165.jpg MOSQUE OF MUAD AT CAIRO]

The Porte forbade the ambassadors of the Powers to import ammunition
into Egypt, for it feared that the viceroy might find a support whose
strength it knew only too well. But the viceroy had no need of this,
for his former connections with Europe had put him in a position of
independence, whereas the Porte itself was obliged to fall back on this
support. Russia, the one of the three Great Powers whose disposition
it was to support the authority of the sultan, lent him twenty thousand
bayonets, whilst Ibrahim Pasha made his advance to the gates of

Immediately after the taking of St. Jean d'Acre Ibrahim Pasha, following
up his successes, had turned towards Damascus, which town he entered
without a blow being struck, the governor and the leading inhabitants
having taken flight. The commander-in-chief established his headquarters
under the walls of the conquered country, and then marched in three
columns on Horns. The battle of Horns (July 8, 1832) demonstrated the
vast superiority of the Egyptian troops. On both sides there were about
thirty thousand regular soldiers, but the Egyptians were the better
organised, the better disciplined, and the more practised in the arts of
war. When it is remembered that at Horns the Turks lost two thousand men
killed, and 2,500 taken prisoners, while the Egyptian casualties were
only 102 killed and 162 wounded, one is not astonished at the enthusiasm
with which Ibrahim Pasha wrote after the battle: "I do not hesitate to
say that two or three hundred thousand of such troops would cause me no

It is not surprising that the beaten pashas were so struck with terror
that in their flight they abandoned sixteen more pieces of artillery and
all the ammunition they had managed to save from their defeat. They
fled as if they could not put sufficient distance between themselves and
their redoubtable enemy.

This battle foretold the result of the Syrian campaign. The population
of Syria seemed to call for the domination of the conqueror; the viceroy
protested his submission to the Porte and his desire for peace, and
meanwhile Ibrahim Pasha marched forward.

The Porte counted on its fleet to guard the Dardanelles, but it needed
an army and a commander to oppose Ibrahim Pasha, who again defeated the
Turks at Oulon-Kislak. He then advanced towards the plains of Anatolia,
where he met Rashid Pasha.

It was now December, 1830, and the atmosphere was heavy with a thick
fog. The armies opened fire on each other on December 21st, with the
town of Koniah in the background. The grand vizier was at the head of
close on sixty thousand men, while the Egyptian army only comprised
thirty thousand, including the Bedouins. The fighting had continued for
about six hours when Rashid Pasha was taken prisoner; the news of his
capture spread along the Turkish lines and threw them into disorder,
and the Egyptians remained masters of the field, with twenty pieces of
mounted cannon and some baggage: the Turks had lost only five hundred
men, while the Egyptian losses were but two hundred.

The battle of Koniah was the last act in the Syrian drama. The sultan's
throne was shaken, and its fall might involve great changes in the
politics of the world. Ibrahim Pasha was only three days' journey from
the Bosphorus, and the way was open to him, with no Turkish army to
fight and the whole population in his favour. In Constantinople itself
Mehemet Ali had a powerful party, and, if the West did not interfere,
the Ottoman Empire was at an end. However, European diplomacy considered
that, in spite of its weakness, it should still weigh in the balance of
the nations.

Trembling in the midst of his harem, Sultan Mahmud cried for help, and
Russia, his nearest neighbour, heard the call. This was the Power that,
either from sympathy or ambition, was the most inclined to come to his
aid. The Emperor Nicholas had offered assistance in a letter brought
to the sultan by the Russian General Mouravieff, and a Russian squadron
appeared in the Bosphorus with eight thousand men for disembarkment. The
Russians, however, agreed not to set foot on shore unless Mehemet
Ali should refuse the conditions that were being proposed to him. The
viceroy refused the conditions, which limited his possessions to
the pashalics of Acre, Tripoli, and Seyd, and which seemed to him
incompatible with the glory won by his arms.

The sultan did not wish to give up Syria, but that province was no
longer his. The sword of Ibrahim had severed the last bonds that
fastened it to him, and he was obliged to yield it, as well as the
district of Andama. On his side, the viceroy acknowledged himself a
vassal of the Porte, and agreed to make an annual payment of the monies
he received from the pashas of Syria. This peace was concluded on May
14, 1833, and was called the peace of Kutayeh, after the place where
Ibrahim signed it.

It was impossible that the convention of Kutayeh should be more than an
armistice. The pasha benefited by it too greatly not to desire further
advantages, and the sultan had lost so much that he must needs make
some attempt at recovery. Mahmud's annoyance was caused by the fact
and nature of the dispossession rather than by its material extent. The
descendant of the Os-manlis, ever implacable in his hatreds, who had
allowed Syria, the cradle of his race, to be wrested from him, now
awaited the hour of vengeance. Mehemet Ali knew himself to be strong
enough to carry a sceptre ably, and he realised that there would be no
need for his numerous pashalics to pass out of his family. Henceforth
his mind was filled with thoughts of independence and the rights of

[Illustration: 169.jpg A MUHAMMEDAN PRAYING PRIEST]

The viceroy and the sultan continued to strengthen their forces, and a
conflict occurred near Nezib on June 24, 1839. The Egyptians completely
routed their adversaries, despite the strenuous resistance of the
Imperial Guard, who, when called upon to surrender, cried in the same
words used at Waterloo, "Khasse sultanem mamatenda darrhi tuffenguini
iere Koimas." ("The guards of the sultan surrender arms only to death").

Greatly elated, Ibrahim flung himself into the arms of his companion in
glory, Suleiman Pasha. His prediction was verified: "This time we will
go to Constantinople, or they shall come to Cairo." They set out
for Constantinople; but the viceroy was again generous. Through the
mediation of Captain Caillé, aide-de-camp to Marshal Soult, who, in the
name of France, demanded a cessation of hostilities, Mehemet Ali desired
his son not to proceed into Asia Minor; so the general halted before
Aintab, the scene of his victories, as he had done on a former occasion
before Kutayeh.

Consumptive and exhausted with his excesses, Mahmud, whose virtue lay
in his ardent love of reforms, died before his time, but this untimely
demise at least spared him the knowledge of the Nezib disaster and the
treason of his fleet, which passed into the hands of the viceroy. Hafiz
Pasha, routed by Ibrahim, was arraigned on his return to Constantinople
for leading the attack before receiving the official mandate; but the
Turkish general produced an autograph of his defunct master. The sultan
had been false to the last, and deceived both European ambassadors and
the ministers of the empire, by means of mysterious correspondence,
combined with his protestations for the maintenance of peace.

It was while Mehemet Ali was organising the national guard of Egypt,
and arranging the military training of the workmen employed in his many
factories, that the unlucky treaty of July 15, 1840, which gave the
whole of Syria to the Sublime Porte, was concluded. Four Western Powers
had secretly met in London and agreed to deprive the sovereign of the
Nile of his conquests, and fling him again at the foot of the throne,
which he had treated as a plaything. Mehemet Ali haughtily protested
against the desecration of his rights, and France, his faithful ally,
with hand on sword-hilt, threatened to draw it against whosoever should
touch Egypt. England and Austria covered the Syrian sea-coast with their
sails and guns. Beyrut, Latakia, Tortosa, Tripoli, Saida, Tyre, St. Jean
d'Acre were bombarded and fell. This formidable coalition despatched
Lord Napier to Alexandria as negotiator. Mehemet Ali accepted the
overtures, and a convention guaranteed to him, as Pasha of Egypt,
rights of succession unknown to all other pashalics of the empire. The
hatti-sherif of January 12, 1841, consolidated this privilege, with,
however, certain restrictions which were regarded as inadmissible by
France, the viceroy, and the cabinets. A new act of investiture, passed
on June 1, 1841, confirmed the viceroy in the possession of Egypt,
transmissible to his male heirs, and also in the government of Nubia.
Mehemet Ali asked no more, France declared herself satisfied, and, to
prove it, became once more a member of the European league by the treaty
of July 15, 1841, which, without being directly connected with the
European question, dealing as it did with the claims of Turkey upon
the Dardanelles, implied, none the less, accordance upon the Eastern
situation. As a token of reconciliation, the Ottoman Porte soon raised
its former rival, Mehemet Ali, to the rank of sadrazam.

The political history of Mehemet Ali was now at an end. All the results,
good or bad, of his career, had reached fulfilment. As a vanquished
conqueror he had been able to remain firm in the midst of catastrophe;
his fatherly ideas and feelings had been his salvation. Had he been
absolutely heroic, he would have considered it a duty, for his courage
and his name's sake, to carry the struggle on to the bitter end, and to
perish in the whirlpool he had raised. He showed that he desired to act
thus, but in his children's interests he refrained, and this was, we
believe, the only influence of importance which made him give way. It
is true that there was not much difference between a throne crumbling to
ruins, or one built thereon; such as it was, however, it seemed
firmly secured to his children, and it was for them to strengthen the
foundations. The pasha considered this a fitting reward for his labours;
as for himself, he was over seventy years of age, and ready to lay down
his burdens.

[Illustration: 153.jpg EGYPTIAN HARMEM]

A man without learning and surrounded by barbarian soldiers, Mehemet Ali
appears before the world as nature made him. Dissimulation, diplomacy,
and deceit, coupled with capability, great courage, genius, and much
perseverance, brought him to the head of the government of Egypt. To
gain his ends he flattered the powerful Ulemas who were the nation's
representatives to the sultan, but, once having obtained his object, he
dismissed them.

Though a clever politician, he was a bad administrator. Being
alternately blindly confident and extremely suspicious, he did not
choose well the men he employed as his auxiliaries, and, being a Turk
and a devout Mussulman, Mehemet Ali wished to give back to the Turks
the power they had lost. He only took account of the results of any
undertaking, without paying any attention to the difficulties surmounted
in its execution, and this characteristic made him commit many
injustices. It was his habit to treat men as levers, which he put aside
when he had no further use for them. He was quick of apprehension, and
of very superior intelligence, and his whole character was a mixture of
generosity and meanness, of greatness and littleness.

Mehemet Ali was an affable, an easy business man, and dominated by a
desire to talk. He enjoyed relating the incidents of his past life, and,
when not preoccupied by affairs of importance, his conversation was full
of charm. The foreigners who visited him were always much impressed with
his superiority, while his lively humour, his freedom, and that air of
good nature he knew so well how to adopt, all captivated his visitors.
The expression of his face was exceedingly mobile, and quickly
communicated itself to the men who surrounded him, who were in constant
observation of his moods, so that one could judge of the state of mind
of the viceroy by the calm or disturbed appearance of his servants.

When Mehemet Ali was anxious, his look became fierce, his forehead
wrinkled, and his eyes shone with anger, while his speech was broken
and his manner brusque and imperious. As regards those in his service,
Mehemet Ali was by turns severe or gentle, tolerant or impatient,
irascible, and surprisingly forbearing. He was jealous of the glory of
others, and desired all honours for himself. He was an enemy of all that
was slow. He liked to do everything, to decide everything, and worked
night and day. All letters, notices, and memoranda that referred to
his government, he read himself or had them read to him. Picked men
translated French and English political newspapers into Turkish, and
he encouraged discussion on all subjects of high interest, although
generally imposing his own opinion. He did not always keep strictly to
his word. He was a stoic, and great pain could not destroy his habitual
gaiety, and when very ill he would still speak affably to those around
him; but illnesses with him were rare, for his health was, as a rule,
excellent. He was very careful about his appearance, and was fond
of women without being their slave; in his youth his life had been
dissolute. He was above the prejudices of his nation, and prayed very
often, although a fatalist.

At the age of forty-five he learned to read, and he held European
learning in great esteem, confessing it superior to that of Turkey; but
he continued to regard European scientists and artists only as salaried
foreigners, whom he hastened to replace by natives as soon as he
considered the latter sufficiently enlightened. Mehemet Ali made one
great mistake, with which his nearest servants reproach him, and that
is with not having introduced into his family learned men from Europe,
picked men devoted to his cause, and well versed in the special things
of which his country was in need.

Had they been brought into a close contact with the viceroy, and
admitted unreservedly to all the privileges the Turks enjoyed, these men
would have adopted Egypt as their country. They would have spoken the
language and have become the' sentinels and safeguards necessary for the
maintenance of useful institutions which the Turks either refused or did
not understand.

During the administration of Mehemet Ali, public hygiene was not
neglected, and a sanitary council watched over the health of the
country. Measures were taken to increase the cleanliness and sanitation
of the towns; military hospitals were built, and a lazarette was
established at Alexandria, whilst vaccine was widely used. In the
country the planting of many trees helped the atmosphere, and Egypt,
which Europeans had hitherto regarded as the seat of a permanent
plague epidemic, became more and more a healthy and pleasurable
resort. Mehemet, whose aims were always for the furthering of Egyptian
prosperity, profited by the leisure of peace to look after the
industrial works. Two great projects that occupied his attention were
the Nile dams and the construction of a railway from Suez to Cairo.

The actual condition of the canalisation of Egypt, while vastly improved
by the viceroy, was still far from complete. Canals, partial dams, and
embankments were attempted; fifty thousand draw-wells carried the
water up to a considerable height, but the system of irrigation was

The railway from Cairo to Suez was an easier, though not less important,
work. The road crossed neither mountain, river, nor forest, while a
series of little plains afforded a firm foundation, requiring very
few earthworks. Its two iron arms stretched out into the desert, and
steam-engines could traverse the distance from the Nile to the Red Sea
in three hours.

Suez would thus become a suburb of Cairo, and thus, being brought closer
to Egypt, would regain her trade. This enterprise, just as the former
one, gave promise of bringing to Egypt the two sources of national
wealth and prosperity: agriculture and trade.

[Illustration: 179.jpg HARBOR OF THE BULAK]

The agricultural unity which Mehemet Ali constituted enabled him to
bring about improvements which with private proprietorship would have
been impossible. The fellah, careless of to-morrow, did not sow for
future reaping, and made no progress, but when Mehemet Ali undertook
the control of agricultural labour in Egypt, the general aspect of
the country changed, though, in truth, the individual condition of the
fellah was not improved. Besides the work of irrigation by means of
canals, dykes, and banks, and the introduction of the cultivation of
indigo, cotton, opium, and silk, the viceroy had also planted thousands
of trees of various kinds, including 100,000 walnut-trees; he ordered
the maimours, or prefects, to open up the roads between the villages,
and to plant trees. He wished the villages, towns, and hamlets to be
ornamented, as in Europe, with large trees, under whose shelter the
tired traveller could rest.

In the various districts were vast tracts of land which for a long time
the plough had not touched. Concessions of these lands were made to
Franks, Turks, Greeks, and Armenians, which concessions were free, and
for a term of seven or eight years, while the guarantees were exempt
from taxes.

During the closing years of his life, between 1841 and 1849, Mehemet
occupied himself with improvements in Egypt. He continued to prosecute
his commercial speculations, and manufacturing, educational, and other
schemes. The barrage of the Nile, which has only been finished during
the British occupation, was begun under his direction. In 1847 he
visited Constantinople, and was received with the rank of a vizier. In
the year 1848 symptoms of imbecility appeared, and his son Ibrahim
was declared his successor. After a reign of only two months he died.
Mehemet Ali's death occurred on the 3rd of August, 1849. His direct
successor was his grandson, Abbas Pasha, who held the sceptre of
Egypt as the direct heir of Ibrahim Pasha. This prince took but little
interest in the welfare of his country. He had in him no spark of the
noble ambition of his predecessor, and no trace of his genius, and he
showed no desire for progress or reforms. He was a real prince of the
ancient East, suspicious, sombre, and careless of the destiny of the
country entrusted to his care. He liked to withdraw to the privacy of
his palace, and, isolated in the midst of his guards, to live that life
of the distrustful and voluptuous despots of the East. The palace of
Bar-el-Beda, which he had built on the road to Suez in the open desert,
a palace without water, lifting its head in the solitude like a silent
witness of a useless life and tragic death, impresses the traveller with
astonishment and fear.

Abbas Pasha was weak in his negotiations with the European Powers, and
this was well for Egypt, as their representative was able to hold in
check his silent hostility to Western civilisation. Such guardianship
is useful when exercised over a prince like Abbas Pasha, but it tends
to become troublesome and baneful when it attempts to interfere with the
government of an active and enlightened sovereign animated by just and
generous intentions.

Muhammed Said, the successor of Abbas Pasha, was born in 1822, nine
years later than his nephew Abbas. He was brought up in Europe by French
professors, and M. Kornig, a distinguished Orientalist, remained with
his pupil and became his secretary. He not only instructed him in all
branches of knowledge becoming to his rank, but also developed in him
a love of European civilisation and noble sentiments, of which he gave
proof from the moment of his accession. He was imbued with liberal
principles, which in an Eastern potentate give proof of great moral
superiority, and in this respect Muhammed Said wras second to no prince
in Europe. He worked for the emancipation of his subjects and the
civilisation of Egypt, and was not content to produce that superficial
civilisation which consists in transplanting institutions that the mass
of the people could not understand. Said Pasha endeavoured to pursue his
father's policy and to carry out his high aims. He had not, however,
the strength of character nor the health necessary to meet the serious
difficulties involved in such a task, and he will be chiefly remembered
by his abolition of the more grinding government monopolies, and for the
concession of the Suez Canal.

After his death Said Pasha was succeeded in the vice-royalty by his
nephew, Ismail Pasha, who was proclaimed viceroy without opposition
early in the year 1863. Ismail, the first who accepted the title of
khédive from the sultan, was born on December 31, 1830, being the second
of the three sons of Ibrahim, and grandson of Mehemet Ali. He had been
educated at the Ecole d'Etat Major at Paris, and when Ahmed, the eldest
son of Ibrahim, died in 1858, Ismail became the heir to his uncle Said.
He had been employed, after his return to Egypt, on missions to the
sovereign pontiff; the emperor, Napoleon III.; and the Sultan of Turkey.
In the year 1861 he was despatched with an army of 18,000 men to
quell an insurrection in the Sudan, which undertaking he brought to a
successful conclusion. On ascending the throne he was much gratified
to find that, on account of the scarcity of cotton, resulting from the
Civil War in America, the revenues had very considerably increased from
the export of the Egyptian cotton. At this date the cotton crop was
worth $125,000,000, instead of $25,000,000, which was the normal value
of the Egyptian output. It was a very serious misfortune to Egypt that
during his sojourn abroad Ismail had learned many luxurious ways, and
had also discovered that European nations were accustomed to make
free use of their credit in raising sums of money for their immediate
advantage. From this moment Ismail started upon a career which gave to
Egypt, in the eyes of the world, a fictitious grandeur, and which made
him one of the most talked-of rulers among the cabinets and peoples of
the European countries. He began by transferring his own private debts
to the state, and thereafter looked upon Egypt merely as his private
estate, and himself as the sovereign landholder. Without any sense of
his responsibility to the Egyptians themselves, he increased his
own fame throughout Europe in the sumptuous fashion of a spendthrift
millionaire. He deemed it necessary for his fame that Egypt should
possess institutions modelled upon those of European countries, and he
applied himself with energy to achieve this, and without any stint of
expense. By burdening posterity for centuries to come, Ismail, during
the two decades subsequent to his accession, always had a supply of
ready money with which to dazzle European guests. During his entire
reign Egypt swarmed with financiers and schemers of every description,
to whom the complacent Ismail lent an only too willing ear.

In the year 1866, in return for an increase of tribute, he obtained from
the sultan a firman giving him the title of khédive (Turkish, _khidewi_,
a king), and changing the law of succession to that of direct descent
from father to-son; and in 1873 he obtained a new firman, purchased
again at an immense cost to his subjects, which rendered him practically
independent of the sultan. Ismail projected vast schemes of internal
reform. He remodelled the system of customs and the post-office,
stimulated commercial progress, and created the Egyptian sugar industry.
He introduced European improvements into Cairo and Alexandria; he
built vast palaces, entertained visitors with lavish generosity, and
maintained an opera and a theatre. By his order the distinguished
composer, Verdi, produced the famous opera "Aïda" for the entertainment
of his illustrious guests on the occasion of their visit to Egypt during
the festivities connected with the opening of the Suez Canal. On this
occasion Mariette Bey ransacked the tombs of the ancient Egyptian kings
in order to reproduce in a lifelike manner the costumes and scenery
appropriate for the occasion.

[Illustration: 185.jpg A FELLAH PLOWING]

The opening of this canal gave Ismail much prominence in the courts of
Europe. He was made a Grand Commander of the Bath, and the same year
visited Paris and London, where he was received by Queen Victoria and
welcomed by the lord mayor. In 1869 he again visited London. By his
great power of fascination and lavish expenditure he was ever able to
make a striking impression upon the foreign courts. During the opening
of the canal, when Ismail gave and received royal honours, treating
monarchs as equals, and being treated by them in like manner, the
jealousy of the sultan was aroused. Ismail, however, contrived
judiciously to appease the suspicions of his overlord, Abdul Aziz.

In the year 1876 the old system of consular jurisdiction for foreigners
was abolished, and the system of mixed courts was introduced, by which
European and native judges sat together to try all civil cases, without
respect to nationality.

In the year 1874 Darfur, a province in the Sudan west of Kordofan,
was annexed by Ismail. He also engaged in a disastrous war against the
Abyssinians, who had ever shown themselves capable of resisting the
inroads of Egyptians, Muhammedans, Arabs, and even of European invaders,
as was proven by the annihilation of a large Italian army of invasion,
and the abandonment of the campaign against Abyssinia by the Italians in
the closing years of the nineteenth century.

[Illustration: 187.jpg ARABS AT A DESERT SPRING]

It was true that Ismail had attempted to carry out the great schemes of
his grandfather for the regeneration of the Orient, and it is possible
that, if the jealousy of European Powers had not prevented the army of
Ibrahim Bej from controlling immense territories in Syria and Anatolia,
which they had won by conquest, that the regeneration of the Orient
might have been accomplished at least a century earlier. No people would
have benefited more by the success of Mehemet Ali's policy than the
Christian people who to-day are under the rule of the barbarous Turks.
With the regeneration of the Orient, the trade of European nations in
the East would have been very largely increased.

The policy of regeneration, wisely begun by Mehemet Ali, was resumed
within Egypt itself in a spendthrift manner by his grandson Ismail.
Every act of his reign, with its ephemeral and hollow magnificence,
moved towards the one inevitable result of foreign intervention. The
price of all the transient splendour was the surrender by slow degrees
of the sovereignty and independence of Egypt itself. The European Powers
of late have withdrawn their interest in the betterment of the native
populations in the Asiatic dominions of the sultan, and have concerned
themselves exclusively with the immediate interests of commerce and the
enforcement of debts contracted to European bondholders. All progress in
the later history of Egypt has originated in the desire of the European
Powers to see Egypt in a position capable of meeting her indebtedness to
foreign bondholders.

In so far as the cry raised of "Egypt for the Egyptians" was a protest
against forcing the Egyptians to pay for an assumed indebtedness
which was at least four times greater than anything they had actually
received, no movement was ever more just and righteous than the protest
of the fellaheen against foreign control, a movement which has been
chiefly associated with the name of Arabi Pasha. The issue of Ismail's
financial troubles was most ignominious and disastrous to Egypt,
after nearly a hundred years of heroic struggles to keep pace with the
progress of modern Europe. Had Ismail modelled his career upon that of
his illustrious grandfather, rather than that of Napoleon III.,
with which it shows many striking parallels, it is probable that the
advantage secured to Egypt through the British occupation might have
resulted in political and financial independence. When the crash came,
and the order for his deposition was sent by the sultan, Ismail resigned
the khedivate in complete submission; and, taking away with him a large
private fortune and a portion of the royal harem, he spent the remainder
of his life in retirement at Naples and Constantinople, and was buried
with solemn pomp in the royal cemetery at Cairo.


[Illustration: 191.jpg PAGE IMAGE]


_Ismail deposed: Tewfik Pasha: Revolt of Arabi Pasha: Lord Wolseley and
the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir: The Mahdist Rising: General Gordon in the
Sudan: Death of Gordon: The Sudan abandoned and re-conquered: Battle of
Onidurman: Khartum College: Financial Stability: Abbas II.: Education,
Law, and the improved condition of the Fellaheen: The Caisse de la

The official deposition of Ismail Pasha by the sultan of Turkey, Abdul
Hamid, occurred on June 26, in the year 1879, and his son Tewfik assumed
the khedivate, becoming practically the protégé of England and Egypt. To
understand how this came to pass, it is necessary to review the account
of the financial embarrassments of Ismail. In twelve years he had
extracted more than $400,000,000 from the fellaheen in taxes. He had
borrowed another $400,000,000 from Europe at the same time, of which
nominal sum he probably received $250,000,000 in cash. The loans were
ostensibly contracted for public works. Possibly ten per cent, of the
borrowed money was profitably laid out. The railways were extended;
Upper Egypt was studded with sugar factories,--most of them doomed to
failure,--and certain roads and gardens were made about the city of

The remainder of this enormous sum of money was spent in purchasing
a change in the law of succession, and the new title of khédive; in
disastrous Abyssinian campaigns; in multiplying shoddy palaces, and in
personal extravagance, which combined Oriental profusion with the
worst taste of the Second Empire. Useless works engaged the corvee;
the fellaheen were evicted from vast tracts, which became ill-managed
estates; and their crops, cattle, and even seed were taken from them
by the tax-gatherers, so that they died by hundreds when a low Nile
afflicted the land. The only persons who flourished in Ismail's time
were foreign speculators and adventurers of the lowest type. As these
conditions became more serious, the khédive attempted to find some means
of protection against the concession-monger. He adopted a suggestion of
the wise Nubar Pasha, and instituted the mixed tribunals for adjudging
civil cases between natives and foreigners.

The Powers agreed to the establishment of these tribunals, and intended
to enforce the decisions of the courts, even in case that Ismail
himself were the delinquent. When later the khédive repudiated the mixed
tribunals, this action precipitated his fall. It became increasingly
difficult for the khédive to meet his accumulated obligations. The price
of cotton had fallen after the close of the American war, and there was
less response from the impoverished people to the Cour-bash, which in
1868 was still more strictly enforced; and soon this enforcement by the
mixed tribunal of debts due to foreigners by an agricultural population,
who lived by borrowing, and were accustomed to settle their debts
by haggling, aggravated the misery of the fellaheen, and led to that
universal despair which was to give strength and significance to
the Arabist revolt. It was no uncommon procedure for the Levantine
money-lender to accompany the tax-gatherer into the provinces with
a chest of money. He paid the taxes of the assembled and destitute
fellaheen, who in return were obliged to give mortgages on their crops
or holdings.

The desperate state of Egyptian finance, which led to the sale of the
precious Suez Canal shares, at last opened the eyes of the bondholders.
Mr. G. T. Goschen (Viscount Goschen) and M. Joubert were deputed to
Egypt on behalf of the foreign creditors. The accounts were found to be
in a state of wild confusion, with little or no chance of learning
the actual facts controlling the financial situation. The minister of
finance, or "Mufet-tish," Ismail Pasha Sadeck, was now arrested and
banished to Dongola.

There was an immediate prospect of a dual control by England and France.
Commissioners were appointed to constitute a caisse, or court, for
receiving the interest due to the bondholders. The great mass of the
debt was then unified, but the Goschen and Joubert arrangement was found
to be too severe for the impoverished country. A low Nile and a famine
resulted in a demand for an investigation into the administration,
and the following year Ismail was obliged to authorise a commission
of inquiry. The waste, extravagance, and wholesale extortion from the
peasantry revealed by this report made a deep impression upon Europe,
and Ismail was forced to disgorge the estates which he had received from
the fellaheen.

In the meantime, the khédive was not inactive in taking measures
to prevent the advent of a confirmed foreign control. He created a
constitutional ministry, upon whom the responsibility rested for the
different branches of the administration. He likewise fomented an
outburst of feeling among the Moslems against the foreign element in
the constitutional ministry. This was intended to strengthen the
pro-Egyptian element in the government, and Ismail thus hoped to
demonstrate to the European Powers the uselessness of attempting to
subordinate the Egyptians to foreign methods of finance and control.
Ismail subsequently dismissed the ministry, and soon afterwards the
controllers themselves. Knowing well the jealousy which existed between
England and France, he believed that there was a chance that he might
successfully play off one Power against the other. If the Moslems had
not been so severely oppressed by taxation, and Ismail had acted with
courage and firmness, it is probable that he might have held his own,
and Egypt might have refused to again accept the dual control.

Bismarck now intervened, and hinted to the sultan that he would receive
the support of the Powers, and Abdul Hamid immediately sent a telegram
to the Egyptian government that Ismail Pasha was deposed from the
khedivate. At this moment his courage gave way, and Ismail surrendered
his throne to his son Tewfik.

[Illustration: 195.jpg THE KHEDIVE TEWFIK]

Tewfik had the misfortune to enter upon a doleful heritage of an empty
treasury, a starving people, and an army ready to mutiny. There were now
two parties in Egypt. The military movement was of the least importance.
The superior posts in the army had been occupied by Circassians since
the days of Mehemet Ali.


Slave boys were bought and trained as officers. The number and quality
of the Circassians had deteriorated, but they still held the most
important posts. The fellaheen officers, under Arabi, who had been
brought to protest against reductions in the military establishment, now
claimed that the Circassians should make way for the Egyptians. Together
with this military dissatisfaction was also a strong civil movement
towards national reform, which included a number of serious and sensible
administrative reforms, which have since been carried out. Arabi Pasha
was the leader of the National Party, and had hopes of convincing
fair-minded people of the justice of their cause; but many influences,
some good and some bad, were at work simultaneously to divert him from
constitutional methods towards making his appeal to the violent and
fanatical element.

Just at this time a divergence between English and French views in
dealing with the situation had manifested itself, having its root in
earlier history. France, now as in 1840, was aiming at the policy of
detaching Egypt from the control of the unprogressive Turks; England
aimed at the maintenance of the much talked of integrity of the Ottoman
Empire. The French premier, Gambetta, was determined that there should
be no intervention on the part of the Turks. He drafted the "Identic
Note" in January, 1881, and induced Lord Granville, the English Foreign
Secretary, to give his assent. This note contained the first distinct
threat of foreign intervention. The result was a genuine and spontaneous
outburst of Moslem feeling. All parties united to protest against
foreign intervention, joined by the fellaheen, who now saw an
opportunity of freeing themselves from foreign usurers, to whom they
had become so unjustly indebted. Riots broke out in Alexandria in 1881.
Gambetta was replaced by the hesitating Freycinet, who looked upon the
intervention with alarm, and upon Germany with suspicion. England was
thus at the last moment left to act alone. Past experience had taught
her that the destiny of Egypt lay in the hands of the dominant sea-power
of the Mediterranean, and that Egypt must not be neglected by the
masters of India. After a vain attempt to bring about mediation through
Dervish Pasha, the special commissioner of the Porte, it was discovered
that the Nationalist Party was too little under control to be utilised
in any further negotiations. Ahmed Arabi Pasha had greatly increased his
influence, and had finally been appointed Minister of War. On the 11th
of June there was serious rioting, in which many Greeks and Maltese,
four Englishmen, and six Frenchmen were slain. Arabi now stepped forward
to preserve order, being at this moment practically the dictator of
Egypt. While endeavouring to maintain order, he also threw up earthworks
to protect the harbour of Alexandria, and trained the guns upon the
British fleet. The admiral in charge, Sir Beauchamp Seymour, who was
waiting for the arrival of the Channel Squadron, sent word to the
Egyptians to cease the construction of fortifications. The request was
not fully assented to, although it was reinforced by an order from
the Porte. An ultimatum was presented on July 10, commanding Arabia to
surrender the forts. The terms were refused, and eight ships and five
gunboats prepared for action on the following day. At the same time the
French fleet retired upon Port Said.

The first shot was fired on July 11th, at seven o'clock in the morning,
by the Alexandrians, and in reply an iron hail rained upon the forts of
the Egyptians from the guns of the British fleet. Arabi's troops
fought well and aimed correctly, but their missiles were incapable of
penetrating the armour of the ironclads. One fort after another was
silenced. Lord Charles Beresford, in command of the gunboat _Condor_,
led a brilliant attack upon Fort Marabout. The firing re-opened on
the next day, and a flag of truce was soon displayed. After some
unsatisfactory parleying the bombardment was resumed, and when a second
flag of truce was unfurled it was discovered that Arabi Pasha had
retreated to Kefr-el-Dowar, fourteen miles away from Alexandria. On
his departure the city was given over to plunder and destruction. The
convicts escaped from the prison, and, joining forces with the Arabs,
looted and burned the European quarters. Two thousand persons, mostly
Greeks and Levantines, were slain, and an enormous quantity of property
destroyed. Admiral Seymour then sent a body of sailors on land, who
patrolled the streets and shot down the looters, and order was thus
finally restored in Alexandria. The khédive, who was forced to fly for
his life to an English steamer, was reinstated in the Ras-el-Tin Palace,
under an escort of seven hundred marines. The British admiral was
afterwards severely criticised for not having put a stop to the rioting
before it assumed such serious proportions.

Arabi's army of 6,000 was now increased by recruits flocking in from
every port in Egypt. After considerable pressure had been brought to
bear upon the khédive, Tewfik issued a proclamation dismissing Arabi
from his service. To enforce the submission of the Arabists, an English
army of 33,000 men was gradually landed in Egypt, under the command of
Sir Garnet Wolseley, with an efficient staff, including Sir John Adye,
Sir Archibald Alison, Sir Evelyn Wood, and General Hamley. An Indian
contingent also arrived under General Macpherson.

Sir Garnet, after making a feint to land near Alexandria, steamed to
Port Said and disembarked, moving up the Suez Canal in order to join
forces with the Indian contingent, who were advancing from Suez.
Fighting took place over the control of the canal at the Mahsameh and
Kassassin Locks, and at the latter place the British cavalry won an
important victory over the Egyptian advance-guard. Arabi's stronghold
was at Tel-el-Kebir, and the English were very anxious to win a
decisive victory before the troops which the sultan was sending from
Constantinople under Dervish and Baker Pasha should arrive. On September
12, 1882, preparations had been completed for an advance, and the army
of 11,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry, with sixty pieces of artillery,
moved forward during the night to within a mile of Arabi's lines. The
Egyptians had 20,000 regulars, of which number 2,500 were cavalry, with
seventy guns, and they were also aided by 6,000 Bedouins. Though well
situated, the army of Arabi was taken by surprise, and the following
day, in response to the various flanking movements of the British,
directed by Wolseley, and the direct charge of the Highlanders, they
made but a very indifferent defence. In a brief space of time the
Egyptians were in full retreat, Arabi fleeing to Cairo. The Indian
contingent occupied Zagazig, and General Drury-Lowe rode with his
cavalry for thirty-nine miles, and entered Cairo on the evening of the
14th. Arabi made a dignified surrender, and with him 10,000 men also
gave themselves up.

The Nationalist movement was now at an end, the various garrisons
surrendering one after another, and the greater part of the British army
left Egypt, 12,000 men remaining behind to maintain order. The Egyptian
government wished to try Arabi as a rebel in a secret tribunal. It was
generally believed that this would have meant a death sentence. Mr.
Wilfrid Blunt, a distinguished British Liberal and a friend of Arabi,
who had often expressed his sympathy with the cause of the Nationalists
in their endeavour to free Egypt from the slavery of the foreign
bondholder, now raised a vigorous protest in favour of an open trial. He
personally contributed to the defence of Arabi, and his efforts led to
the commutation of the sentence of death to that of perpetual exile
in Ceylon--a sentence which was subsequently very much modified. Arabi
Pasha returned to Egypt in the year 1902, after an exile which had
lasted about nine years.


The difficult task of readjusting the government of Egypt was then
undertaken. Proposals were made to France for a modification of the
dual control, in which France was offered the presidency of the Debt
Commission. France, however, refused to accept the compromise, and the
British government finally determined upon independent action. In place
of the officials through whom the two governments had hitherto exercised
the control, a single financial adviser was appointed, who was not
allowed to take part in the direct administration of the country. The
outline of this adjustment was given in a circular note addressed by
Lord Granville to the Powers. He declared that an army would remain in
Egypt as long as it was required; representative institutions were to
be created; the Egyptian army and gendarmery were to be placed in the
hands of Englishmen; the Diara estates were to be economically managed;
foreigners were to be placed upon the same footing as natives in regard
to taxation. The other Powers, including Turkey but excluding France,
accepted the agreement. The office of financial adviser was given to Sir
Edgar Vincent.

The important work of the reconstruction of Egypt now began in earnest.
Sir Benson Maxwell set about establishing an effective means for the
impartial administration of justice, and Colonel Moncrieff undertook the
responsibility for the work of irrigation. Mr. Clifford Lloyd created a
police system, reorganised the prisons and hospitals, and set free the
untried prisoners. Baker Pasha formed a provincial gendarmery, and Sir
Evelyn Wood organised an army of six thousand men.

In the year 1883, while this work of reconstruction was proceeding, a
religious insurrection, which had originated two years previously, was
forced upon the notice of the government. It has already been related
that the Ismailian sect of the Muhammedans had introduced the doctrine
of a coming Messiah, or Mahdi, who was to be the last of the imans, and
the incarnation of the universal soul.

Not a few impostors had exploited this doctrine to their own advantage,
and some of the Arabian tribes were firmly convinced that the Mahdi had
come, and that the Mahdis who had appeared to their kinsmen elsewhere
were merely clever charlatans. In the year 1881 Muhammed Ahmet, a
religious leader among the Moslem Arabs in the Central African provinces
of Kordofan and Darfur, proclaimed himself as the Mahdi, and called upon
the Muhammedans to initiate a holy war.

The Mahdi's continued advances were rendered possible by the precarious
state of affairs in Egypt. After a settlement was effected in 1883,
Hicks Pasha, an officer of courage and ability, who had retired from
the Indian army, gathered 11,000 men at Omdurman to quell the Mahdist
insurrection. With this force he started up the Nile and struck across
the desert to El-Obeid, where his troops were decoyed into a ravine, and
after three days' fighting his whole army was annihilated by the Mahdist
army numbering about 300,000 men. The entire Sudan then revolted against
Egypt. The redoubtable Osman Digna appeared with the Hadendowa Arabs
off the coast of the Red Sea, and harassed the Egyptian garrison. Osman
defeated Captain Moncrieff and an army of 3,000 Bashi-Bazouks led by
Baker Pasha. Egypt, under the advisement of the British government, then
attempted to withdraw from the Sudan. It was decided that the western
provinces of Kordofan and Dafur should be abandoned, but that important
centres like Khartum on the Nile should be preserved, at least for
a time. Here all the Egyptian colonists were to congregate. If the
revolting Arab tribes, called by the general name of Dervishes, would
not come to friendly terms with the settlers, then, in time, it was
decided that Khartum itself, and every other locality in the Sudan,
should be entirely relinquished, except the ports of the Red Sea.

General Gordon was sent to Khartum to make terms with the Mahdi and
prepare for eventualities. The evacuation of this place was almost
immediately decided upon by the British Cabinet, and Gordon arrived on
February 18, 1884, but, being unsupported by European troops, he found
the position an exceedingly difficult one to maintain. The Mahdi scorned
his overtures, and Osman Digna was daily closing in upon the Egyptian
port of Suakin.

[Illustration: 204.jpg OSMAN DIGNA]

The British then determined to act with vigour. Sinkitat had fallen on
February 8th, and to protect Tokar and Suakin they landed four thousand
men and fought a fierce battle with nine thousand Hadendowas at El - Teb
February 28, 1884. The Egyptian garrison of Tokar, when the British army
arrived, was found to have compromised with the Mahdists. Later on was
fought the battle of Tamai against Osman Digna, during which a body
of Arabs rushed the British guns and broke up the formation of their
square. The British were on the point of defeat, but they managed to
recover the lost guns, and scatter the Hadendowas.

General Gordon's situation was now extremely critical. It was hoped that
an army might advance from Suakin across the desert to Berber, and then
ascend the Nile to Khartum. In the meantime, Gordon urgently called for
help, and, after interminable delays, in the autumn of 1884, an English
army under Lord Wolseley started up the Nile to relieve him. The troops
of Wolseley were aided by a camel corps of one thousand men, who were
organised to make a rush across the desert. On the 16th of January,
1885, the camel troops came up with the enemy and fought the decisive
battle of Matammeh. The Mahdist troops were mown down by rifles and
Gatling-guns as soon as they were within short range. Immediately after
the battle, Sir Charles Wilson determined to use the Egyptian flotilla
to make an immediate advance. The steamers were protected, and a small
relief force started on January 24th. They came in sight of Khartum on
the 28th, but were fired upon from every side. At this moment, a native
called from the bank that the city had fallen, and that the heroic
Gordon had been killed.

A history of Egypt would be incomplete without some account of that
leader whose bravery, humanitarian views, and understanding of the
Oriental character have made him famous among the pioneers of Christian
civilisation in Asia and Africa. Fresh from his laurels won in the
service of the Chinese government in suppressing the Tai-peng rebellion,
Gordon returned to England in 1871. In 1874 he accepted a position from
Egypt, with the consent of the British government. He journeyed to Cairo
and up the Nile to take up the command as governor of the Equatorial
Provinces in succession to Sir Samuel Baker. There he laboured with
incessant energy to put down the slave-trade and to secure the welfare
of the natives. He established a series of Egyptian outposts along the
Abyssinian frontier and made a survey of Lake Albert Nyanza. Returning
to Cairo in 1874, after some delay, he was appointed by Ismail Pasha as
governor-general of the whole of the Egyptian Sudan. A war followed
with Abyssinia, and, after the army, led by Egyptian officers, had been
beaten twice, Gordon went to Massowah to negotiate with the Abyssinian
monarch, Atti Johannes. He next proceeded to Khartum, and vigorously
undertook the suppression of the slave-trade.

[Illustration: 207.jpg MOSQUE OF THE IBRIHAM AT DESUK]

Gordon's death at Khartum, in 1884, is one of the greatest tragedies of
modern history. Supported neither by Egypt nor by the English army, of
a different religion from all his followers, pressed on all sides by the
Mah-dist forces, Gordon gallantly kept his few faithful followers at his
side, and, with incessant activity and heroism, protected the remaining
Egyptian colonists of the cities along the Nile, over which he still
held control. He had called upon the British government to send aid
across the desert from Suakin via Berber, but this request had been
denied him. Berber then fell, and he was cut off to the north by many
hundred miles of territory occupied by Mahdists. On January the
1st, nearly a month before the long-delayed succour approached the
beleaguered city, the provisions had given out. He had written on
December 14th that, with two hundred men, he could have successfully
kept up the defence. As his army had been starving since the 5th of
January, it is difficult to understand how he managed to hold out till
January the 26th. On this date, two days before the relief expedition
approached, the Mahdi's troops attacked Khartum, and, finding Gordon's
men too weak to fight, the defences were cut down, and the heroic Gordon
was killed by a shot at the head of the steps of the palace.

Upon learning of the death of Gordon, the relief expedition retreated,
finding that the object of their advance had proved to be a hopeless
one. A general evacuation was begun, and Dongola and the whole country
south of Wady Haifa surrendered. The Mahdi, soon after winning Khartum,
died, and was succeeded by the Califa Abdulla at Taashi. This change
facilitated the Anglo-Egyptian retreat. About the same time Slatin
Bey surrendered in Darfur and embraced Muhammedan-ism, and Lupton Bey,
following his example, also adopted the religion of Islam, and yielded
in Bahr-el-Ghazel. Emin Pasha alone retained his authority, derived
originally from Egypt, in the province of Equatoria. Sir H. M. Stanley
afterwards made his famous journey "Through Darkest Africa" and rescued
this famous pasha. This noted explorer died May 9, 1904.

In the autumn of 1885, the dervish Emir of Dongola, Muhammed el-Kheir,
advanced upon the Egyptian frontier. On December 30th he was met by the
Egyptian troops under Sir Frederick Stephenson. The Egyptian troops,
unaided by Europeans, attacked the dervishes at Ginnis and totally
defeated them, winning two guns and twenty banners. It was a source of
much gratification that the Egyptian fellaheen had proved themselves so
courageous and well disciplined in the encounter with the fierce hosts
of the desert.

[Illustration: 210.jpg LORD KITCHENER OF KHARTUM]

In October, 1886, Wad en Nejumi, the victor of El-Obeid, was sent by the
califa to invade Egypt. The advance of this army was delayed by trouble
within the Sudan; but the califa, having at length beaten his enemies,
in the year 1889 sent large reinforcements northwards to carry on
the campaign against Egypt with vigour. The Egyptian troops, with one
squadron of hussars, fought a decisive engagement with Wad en Nejumi on
August 3rd of the same year. The dervish leader, many of his emirs, and
twelve hundred Arab warriors were slain; four thousand more were taken
prisoners, and 147 dervish standards were captured.

The ever-increasing progress of Egypt during the next ten years,
together with the accounts received from escaped prisoners of the
reign of terror and inhumanity which obtained in the Sudan, brought
the question of the reconquest of the lost provinces once more into
prominence. The Italians had met with a fearful disaster in fighting
against the Abyssinians at the battle of Adowa on March 1,1896. They
were holding Kassala within the ex-Egyptian territory by invitation
from England, and a reason was presented for attacking the dervishes
elsewhere in order to draw off their army from Kassala. With the
appointment of Sir Henry Kitchener, on March 11,1896, as sirdar of the
Egyptian army, the final period of hostilities was entered upon between
Egypt and the independent Arabs of the Central African Provinces.

General Kitchener was ordered to build a railroad up the Nile, and to
push forward with a well-organised Egyptian army, whose chief officers
were Englishmen. The whole scheme of the invasion was planned with
consummate forethought and deliberation, the officials and advisers
in charge of the enterprise being chosen from the most tried and able
experts in their several provinces. Lieut.-Col. E. P. C. Girouard, a
brilliant young Canadian, undertook the work of railroad reconstruction.
Col. L. Bundle was chief of the staff, and Major R. Wingate head of the
Intelligence Department, ably assisted by the ex-prisoner of the califa,
Slatin Bey. The army consisted in the beginning almost entirely of
Egyptian and Sudanese troops, together with one battalion of the North
Staffordshire Regiment. There were eight battalions of artillery, eight
camel corps, and sixty-three gunboats which steamed up the Nile.

After some sharp skirmishing, the advance was made to Dongola, when the
English battalion was sent home disabled, and in time was replaced by a
strong English brigade under General Gatacre. Early in 1897, a railroad
had been thrown across the desert from Wady Haifa towards Abu Hamed,
obviating the need of making an immense detour around the bend of the
Nile near Dongola. The califa had, by this time, organised his defence.
The Jaalin tribe had revolted against him at Metammeh, and had sought
for help from the Egyptians, but before the supply of rifles arrived,
the dervishes under the Emir Mahmud stormed Metammeh and annihilated the
whole tribe of the Jaalin Arabs.

The van of the army of invasion, both the flying corps and the flotilla
of gunboats, advanced upon Abu Hamed towards the end of August.
Major-General Hunter carried the place by storm. Berber was found to be
deserted, and was occupied on September 5th. Hunter burned Adarama and
reconnoitred on the Atbara. The gunboats bombarded Metammeh and reduced
the place to ruins. The sirdar, General Kitchener, then went on a
mission to Kassala, where he found the Italians anxious to evacuate.
He thereupon made an agreement whereby the Egyptians should occupy
the place, which was accordingly accomplished under Colonel Parsons on
Christmas Day, 1897. Disagreements among the dervishes prevented them
from making any concerted defence, and early in 1896 Kitchener renewed
the advance and captured the dervish stores at Shendy on March 27th. The
zeriba or camp of Mahmud was attacked and stormed with great loss to the
dervishes on the 5th of April.

On the date scheduled beforehand by Lord Kitchener, just after the
annual rains had refreshed the country, the Anglo-Egyptian army made its
final advance upon Khartum. There were ten thousand British troops and
fifteen thousand Egyptians. The forces were concentrated at Wady Hamed,
sixty miles above Omdurman, from which point they bombarded the city
with shells filled with deadly lyddite, and the mosque and tomb of the
late Mahdi were destroyed. At length the entire army advanced to within
four miles of Khartum. On September 2nd the cavalry and a horse battery
reached Kasar Shanbal. From this point they saw the whole army of the
califa, consisting of from forty to fifty thousand men, advancing to
confront them from behind the hills. The Anglo-Egyptians advanced to
meet the dervishes disposed in the form of a horseshoe, with either end
resting upon the banks of the river. At intervals along the whole line
of the army were field-pieces and Maxims, and the gunboats were within
reach to aid in shelling the enemy. The British soldiers then built
a square sand rampart called a zarilea, and their Egyptian allies dug
defensive trenches.

On the front and left the dervishes came on in great strength, but, when
the Maxims, the field-guns, and the repeating rifles opened fire upon
them, at a comparatively close range, a frightful havoc was the result.
All who remained to fight were immediately shot down, and the whole
field was cleared in fifteen minutes. The dervishes retreated behind the
hills, and were joined by fresh forces. General MacDonald, in making
a detour with a body of Lancers, was suddenly beset by two thousand
dervish riflemen, who fiercely charged him on three sides. Quickly
forming a square, he succeeded by desperate efforts in repelling the
enemy, until he was reinforced by Kitchener, who perceived his desperate

The calif then attacked the extreme left wing of the army, but was again
driven off. The Anglo-Egyptians were now in a position to deliver the
main attack upon the dervish defences. The troops of the califa
fought with heroic bravery, fearlessly advancing within range of the
Anglo-Egyptian fire, but each time they were mown down by the cross fire
of the Maxims and rifles. Vast numbers were slain, and some divisions
of the dervishes suffered complete annihilation. They left ten thousand
dead upon the field, and ten thousand wounded. The rest fled in all
directions, a scattered and straggling force, with the califa himself.
The Anglo-Egyptians lost but two thousand men. Few prisoners were taken,
for, in almost every instance, the dervishes refused to surrender, and
even when wounded used their swords and spears against the rescuers of
the ambulance corps. All the fighting was over by midday, and in the
afternoon General Kitchener entered Omdurman, and the army encamped in
the vicinity. Slatin Bey was duly installed as governor in the name
of the Egyptian khédive. The European prisoners of the califa were now
released, and on Sunday, the 4th of September, the sirdar and all his
army held a solemn service in memory of General Gordon near the spot
where he was killed.

Bodies of men were now sent out on all sides to pacify the country, and
the sirdar, who had been elevated to the peerage as Lord Kitchener of
Khartum, started on an expedition up the Nile in a gunboat, in order to
settle the difficult question arising from the occupation of Pashoda by
a French corps under Major Marchand. The ability and strategy of this
French commander were of a very high order. The general plan of the
expedition had been in accord with French military traditions, based
upon former attempts in India and America to separate the British
colonial dominions, or to block the way to their extension by
establishing a series of military outposts or forts at certain strategic
points chosen for this purpose. Had the French designs under Desaix in
India, or of the army of occupation in the Mississippi Valley in the
eighteenth century, been supported by a powerful fleet, there is no
doubt that British colonisation would have suffered a severe setback. If
Major Marchand remained in Fashoda, the route to all the upper regions
of the Nile would be cut off from any English or Egyptian enterprise.
Accordingly, Lord Kitchener ran the risk of grave international
complications by advancing upon Fashoda to meet Major Marchand.
Fortunately, a temporary agreement was entered upon that the home
governments should decide the question at issue, and Lord Kitchener then
hoisted the Anglo-Egyptian flag south of the French settlement, and the
officers fraternised over glasses of champagne.

It is now believed that Russia would have aided France if it had come
to a war, but the French government thought the affair not of sufficient
importance to warrant an international struggle over the retention of
Fashoda, and the respective spheres of influence of France and Great
Britain were finally agreed upon early in the following year by the
Niger Convention, which left the whole of the ex-Egyptian provinces
under British protection, as far south as the Equatorial Lakes, and as
far west as the border line between Darfur and Wadai.

The calif was subsequently pursued from place to place in the desert,
and was at length overtaken by Colonel Wingate at Om Dubreikat. The
dervish leader fought a desperate fight; and, refusing to fly, was slain
with all his personal followers on November 26, 1899.

The total cost of these campaigns had been incredibly small, not
amounting in all to the total of $12,000,000, and the railroad, the cost
of which is here included in the expenditure, is of permanent value to

After the re-occupation of Khartum, it was again, as in Gordon's time,
made the seat of government, the dervish capital having been located
across the Nile at Omdurman. For a memorial to Gordon, $500,000 was
enthusiastically raised in England. The memorial took the practical
form of an educational establishment for the natives of the Sudan, the
foundation-stone of which was laid by Lord Cromer in January, 1900.
The school is intended to be exclusively for Muhammedans, and only the
Moslem religion is to be taught within its walls.

Though the Mahdism, of which the late califa had been the leading
spirit, had degenerated into a struggle of slave-traders versus
civilisation, the calif at least showed conspicuous courage in the
manner in which he faced his death. For the last twenty years, during
which the revolts of the dervishes had troubled the outlying provinces
of the Egyptian dominions, trade had been almost at a standstill; large
numbers of blacks had been enslaved; an equal number probably had been
slaughtered, and whole regions depopulated. The total population was cut
down during these years to one-half of what it previously had been, and
it was of vital importance to Egypt to reconquer all the lost provinces
which lay upon the banks of the river Nile. If the prosperity of
Egypt is to rest upon a sound basis, and not be subjected to periodic
overthrow at the hands of the hostile inhabitants of the south, it is
essential that the Upper Nile should be under the control of those who
are responsible for the welfare of the country. Egypt is the gift of the
Nile, and the entire population of Egypt is dependent upon this river.
To secure prosperity for the country and to develop Egyptian resources
to the fullest extent, the rulers of Egypt must also be the rulers of
the Nile. When the Anglo-Egyptian expedition under Kitchener set out to
reconquer the Sudan, the development of Egypt had been progressing in
all directions at a rapid rate. Having greater interests to defend, less
indebtedness to meet, and greater facilities for meeting the taxes due
the home government, no less than the foreign bondholders, the time was
ripe in which to take that great step towards securing the prosperity of
Egypt in the future by finally destroying the community of slaveholders,
which, under the sanction of Mahdism, brutally tyrannised over the
non-Muhammedan population.

[Illustration: 218.jpg SLAVE BOATS ON THE NILE]

From the beginning of the British occupation, the English have been
engaged in persevering efforts at reform in every branch of the
administration. The reforms which they instituted in the different
departments of the army, finance, public works, and the police system
were not at first popular. The native officials found out that they
could not use methods of extortion; the upper classes, the pashas, and
the wealthy landowners also discovered that they were not at liberty
to do as they pleased, and that the English inspectors of irrigation
strictly regulated the water-supply. It has since been fully
demonstrated that the curtailing of their privilege to make use of
the water when and how they chose is more than compensated by improved

During the fifteen years previous to 1898, the population of Egypt had
increased by about three million, or forty-three per cent. It was then
ten million; it is now nearly eleven million. Within the boundaries of
the irrigated land Egypt has always been a very populous country. By
the effort to expand this area of irrigation, the way was prepared for
a considerable increase in the total population. There are sections of
this land where the density of the population averages from seven to
eight hundred or even a thousand persons to the square mile. In early
times, the population was still greater, as the irrigation area was
increased by the great reservoir of Lake Mceris. When Omar made a census
(A.D. 640), there were to be found six million Kopts, exclusive of the
aged, the young, and the women, and three hundred thousand Greeks: this
would imply, even at that decadent period, a total population of fifteen

The increased prosperity shown by the railroads is most satisfactory.
Two hundred and twelve miles of new railroad have been constructed,
and an enormous development of the railroad and telegraph business has
resulted. Since the year 1897 railroad development has been very rapid,
and, with the line to the Sudan, amounted in 1904 to some two thousand
miles. From the Sudan railway it is intended ultimately to extend a
railroad system through the heart of Africa, from Cairo to Capetown.

Great progress has been made in all departments of public works.
Hundreds of agricultural roads have been built, and the mileage of
canals and drains has been largely increased to the very great benefit
of the Egyptian peasant.

The quantity of salt sold was doubled between 1881 and 1897, while the
price has been reduced nearly forty per cent. The tonnage of the port of
Alexandria increased from 1,250,000 pounds to 2,549,739 between 1881 and
1901. This increase was paralleled by a like increase in Alexandria's
great rival, Port Said.

Sir Evelyn Baring (Viscount Cromer) was appointed consul-general and
financial adviser to Egypt in January, 1884, succeeding in this position
Sir Edward Malet. Sir Evelyn was nominally the financial adviser, but
practically the master of Egypt. The khédive never ventured to oppose
the carrying out of his wishes, since the British army of occupation was
ever at his beck and call to lend its weight to the commands which he
issued to the government under the appearance of friendly advice.

The most serious obstacle to the progress of Egypt has been the
authority of the mixed administrations, the chief of which is the Caisse
de la Dette. The main object of these administrations is to secure for
European bondholders payment of the debts incurred by Egypt chiefly
under the incredibly profligate government of Ismail Pasha. The Caisse
de la Dette has commissions from six of the Powers. It receives from the
tax-gatherer all the taxes apportioned to the payment of the interest
for foreign indebtedness. Its influence, however, extends much farther,
and the Caisse exercises the right of prohibiting expenditure on the
part of the Egyptian government until its own demands for current
interest have been complied with. It further has the right to veto any
loan which the Egyptian government might be willing to raise, however
urgent the necessity might be, unless it can be demonstrated that there
is not the least likelihood that payment of the shareholders whom the
Caisse represents will be in the least degree affected. If all that the
Caisse claimed as belonging to its jurisdiction were really allowed to
it by the Anglo-Egyptian government, the Caisse or International Court
might exercise an arbitrary control over Egyptian affairs. It has many
times seriously attempted to block the progress of Egypt with the sole
aim of considering the pockets of the foreign shareholders, and in
entire disregard to the welfare of the people.

Added to this tribunal is the Railway Board and the Commissions of
the Daira and Domains. The Railway Board administers the railroads,
telegraphs, and the port of Alexandria. The Daira and Domains
Commissions administer the large estates, mortgaged to the holders of
the loans raised by Ismail Pasha under these two respective names. The
Daira Estate yielded a surplus over and above the amount of interest
on the debt paid, for the first time, in 1890. The Domain Estate had
to face a deficit until the year 1900. Until these respective dates the
Egyptian government itself was obliged to pay the deficit due to the


In the year 1884, the Convention of London was signed by the European
Powers, which was, however, for the most part, oppressive and unjust to
the Egyptians. The amount of money raised by taxation, which was allowed
to be spent in one year, was limited to the definite sum of $25,927,890.
Fortunately for Egypt, the London Convention had one clause by which
$44,760,000 could be utilised for the development of the country. With
this sum the indemnities of Alexandria were paid, defects in the payment
of interest were made good, and a small sum was left wherewith to
increase irrigation and other useful works. The criminal folly of
the former lavish expenditure was now demonstrated by a brilliant
object-lesson. This small sum, when kept out of the hands of the
rapacious bondholders, and applied to the development of the rich soil
of Egypt, was found to work wonders. From the moment when the finances
of Egypt were for the first time used to develop what is naturally the
richest soil in the world, progress towards betterment grew rapidly into
the remarkable prosperity of to-day. For a time, however, the government
was obliged to use extreme parsimony in order to keep the country from
further falling under the control of the irresponsible bondholders.
Finally, in the year 1888, Sir Evelyn Baring wrote to the home
government that the situation was so far improved that in his judgment
"it would take a series of untoward events seriously to endanger
the stability of Egyptian finance and the solvency of the Egyptian
government." The corner had been turned, and progressive financial
relief was at length afforded the long-suffering Egyptian people in the
year 1890. After several years of financial betterment, it was decided
to devote future surpluses to remunerative objects, such as works of
irrigation, railway extension, the construction of hospitals, prisons,
and other public buildings, and in the improvement of the system of
education. Great difficulty was experienced in making use of this
surplus, on account of technical hindrances which were persistently
placed in the way of the Egyptian government by the Caisse de la Dette.
These difficulties are now almost entirely removed.

In 1896 it was decided, as has been narrated, to be for the interest of
Egypt to start a campaign against the dervishes. Appeal was made to the
Caisse de la Dette to raise additional funds for the necessary
expenses of the projected campaign. The Caisse, following its universal
precedent, immediately vetoed the project. England then made special
grants-in-aid to Egypt, which both aided the Egyptian government and
greatly strengthened her hold upon Egypt. By means of this timely
assistance, Egypt was enabled successfully to pass through the period of
increased expenditure incurred by the reconquest of the Sudan.

During the lifetime of Khedive Tewfik, who owed his throne to the
British occupation, there had been little or no disagreement between the
British and Egyptian authorities. In the year 1887 Sir Henry Drummond
Wolff prepared a convention, in accordance with which England promised
to leave Egypt within three years from that date. At the last moment
the sultan, urged by France and Russia, refused to sign it, and the
occupation which these two Powers would not agree to legalise even for
a period of three years was now less likely than ever to terminate. The
following year Tewfik dismissed Nubar Pasha, who had, by the advice of
the foreign Powers, stood in the way of reforms planned by the English

Tewfik died in 1892, and was succeeded by Abbas Hilmi Pasha, called
officially Abbas II. He was born in 1874, and was barely of age
according to Turkish law, which fixes magistracy at eighteen years of
age in the case of the succession to the throne. He came directly from
the college at Vienna to Cairo, where his accession was celebrated
with great pomp; and the firman, confirming him in all the powers,
privileges, and territorial rights which his father had enjoyed, was
read from the steps of the palace in Abdin Square. For some time the
new khédive did not cooperate with cordiality with Great Britain. He was
young and eager to exercise his power. His throne had not been saved for
him by the British, as his father's had been, and he was surrounded
by intriguers, who were scheming always for their own advantage. He at
first appeared almost as unprogressive as his great-uncle, Abbas I.,
but he later learned to understand the importance of British counsels.
During his visit to England in 1899 he frankly acknowledged the great
good which England had done in Egypt, and declared himself ready
to cooperate with the officials administering British affairs. This
friendliness was a great change from the disposition which he had shown
in previous years, during the long-drawn-out dispute between himself and
Sir Evelyn Baring regarding the appointment of Egyptian officials. The
controversy at one time indicated a grave crisis, and it is reported
that on one occasion the British agent ordered the army to make a
demonstration before the palace, and pointed out to the young ruler the
folly of forcing events which would inevitably lead to his dethronement.
The tension was gradually relaxed, and compromises brought about which
resulted in harmony between the khédive and the British policy of
administration, and no one rejoiced more than Abbas Hilmi over the
victory of Omdurman.

[Illustration: 227.jpg BAZAR IN ASWAN]

Agricultural interests are dearer to the heart of the khédive than
statecraft. He rides well, drives well, rises early, and is of
abstemious habits. Turkish is his mother tongue, but he talks Arabic
with fluency and speaks English, French, and German very well.

An agreement between England and Egypt had been entered upon January 19,
1899, in regard to the administration of the Sudan. According to this
agreement, the British and Egyptian flags were to be used together,
and the supreme military and civil command was vested in the
governor-general, who is appointed by the khédive on the recommendation
of the British government, and who cannot be removed without
the latter's consent. This has proved so successful that the
governor-general, Sir Reginald Wingate, reported in 1901:

"I record my appreciation of the manner in which the officers,
non-commissioned officers, soldiers, and officials,--British, Egyptian,
and Sudanese,--without distinction, have laboured during the past year
to push on the work of regenerating the country. Nor can I pass over
without mention the loyal and valuable assistance I have received from
many of the loyal ulemas, sheiks, and notables, who have displayed a
most genuine desire to see their country once more advancing in the path
of progress, material success, and novel development."

In 1898 there were in all about 10,000 schools, with 17,000 teachers
and 228,000 pupils. Seven-eighths of these schools were elementary,
the education being confined to reading, writing, and the rudiments
of arithmetic. The government has under its immediate direction
eighty-seven schools of the lowest grade, called kuttabs, and
thirty-five of the higher grades, three secondary, two girls' schools,
and ten schools for higher or professional education,--the school of
law, the school of medicine, with its pharmaceutical school and its
school for nursing and obstetrics, polytechnic schools for civil
engineers, two training-schools for schoolmasters, a school of
agriculture, two technical schools, one training-school for female
teachers, and the military school. In addition to the schools belonging
to the Ministry of Public Instruction, there were under the inspection
of that department in 1901 twenty-three primary schools of the higher
grade, with an attendance of 3,585, and 845 schools of the lowest grade,
with 1,364 teachers and an attendance of 26,831 pupils. There are
187 schools attached to various Protestant and Catholic missions, and
forty-three European private schools.

The Koptic community supports one thousand schools for elementary
education, twenty-seven primary boys' and girls' schools, and one
college. The teaching of the Koptic language in the schools is now
compulsory; the subjects taught, and the methods of teaching them, are
the same as in vogue in other countries. Fifty per cent, of the Koptic
male population can read and write well. The indigenous tribunals of the
country are called Mehkemmehs, and are presided over by cadis. At
the present time they retain jurisdiction in matters of personal law
relating to marriage succession, guardianship, etc. Beyond this sphere
they also fulfil certain functions connected with the registration
of title of land. In matters of personal law, however, the native
Christians are subject to their own patriarchs or other religious

In other matters, natives are justiciable before the so-called native
tribunals, established during the period of the British occupation.
These consist of forty-six summary tribunals, each presided over by a
single judge, who is empowered to exercise jurisdiction in matters up to
$500 in value, and criminal jurisdiction in offences punishable by fine
or by imprisonment of three years or less. Associated with these are
seven central tribunals, each chamber consisting of three judges.
There is also a court of appeal in Cairo, one-half of its members
being Europeans. In criminal matters there is always a right to appeal,
sometimes to the court of appeal, sometimes to a central tribunal.
In civil matters an appeal lies from a summary tribunal to a central
tribunal in matters exceeding $500 in value, and from the judgment of
a central tribunal in the first instance to the court of appeal in all
cases. The prosecution in criminal matters is entrusted to the parquet,
which is directed by a procurer-general; the investigation of crime
is ordinarily conducted by the parquet, or by the police under its
direction. Offences against irrigation laws, which were once of such
frequent occurrence and the occasion of injustice and lawlessness, are
now tried by special and summary administration tribunals.

The capitulations or agreements concerning justice entered into by all
the Great Powers of Europe and the Ottoman Empire, relative to the trial
and judgment of Europeans, include Egypt as an integral part of the
Turkish Empire. Foreigners for this reason have the privilege of being
tried by European courts. But if one party in a case is European and
another Egyptian, there are special mixed tribunals, established in
1876, consisting partly of native and partly of foreign judges. These
tribunals settle civil and also some criminal cases between Egyptians
and Europeans, and in 1900 penal jurisdiction was conferred upon them in
connection with offences against the bankruptcy laws.

There are three mixed tribunals of the first class, with a court of
appeal, sitting at Alexandria. Civil cases between foreigners of the
same nationality are tried before their own consular courts, which also
try criminal cases not within the jurisdiction of the mixed
tribunals, in which the accused are foreigners. By this well organised
administration of justice, crime has steadily decreased throughout
Egypt, and the people have learned to enjoy the benefit of receiving
impartial justice, from which they had been shut off for many centuries.

About sixty per cent, of the inhabitants of modern Egypt belong to
the agricultural class--the fellaheen. The peasantry are primitive
and thrifty in their habits, and hold tenaciously to their ancient
traditions. They are a healthy race, good-tempered and tractable, and
fairly intelligent, but, like all Southern nations breathing a balmy
atmosphere, they are unprogressive. Centuries of oppression have not,
however, crushed their cheerfulness. There is none of that abject misery
of poverty among the Egyptians which is to be seen in cold countries.
There is no starvation amongst them. Food is cheap, and a peasant can
live well on a piastre (five cents) a day. A single cotton garment is
enough for clothing, and the merest hut affords sufficient protection.
The wants of the Egyptians are few. Their condition, now freed from
forced labour, called the "Courbash," as also from injustice, crushing
taxation, and usury, which characterised former administrations,
compares favourably with the peasantry of many countries in Europe, and
is equal, if not superior, to that of the peasantry of England itself.

Under the British protection there has been a renewal of the Koptic
Christian race. They are easily to be distinguished from their
Muhammedan countrymen, being lighter in colour, and resembling the
portraits on the ancient monuments. They are a strong community in Upper
Egypt, whither they fled from the Arab invaders, and they there hold
a large portion of the land. They live mostly in the towns, are better
educated than other Egyptians, and are employed frequently in the
government service as clerks and accountants.

Koptic is still studied for church purposes by the Kopts, who both by
their physiognomy and by their retention of the old Egyptian institution
of monasticism are the only true descendants having the social
and physical heredity of the ancient Egyptians. Four of the oldest
monasteries in the world still survive in the Natron Valley.

[Illustration: 232.jpg MOSQUE OF EL GHURI AT CAIRO]

In spite of their distinguished social ancestry, the Kopts are by no
means a superior class morally to the fellaheen, who are in part the
descendants of those ancient Egyptians who renounced the Christian
religion, the language and institutions of the Egyptian Christians, and
accepted Muhammedanism and the Arabic language and institutions.

The creed of the Kopts is Jacobite. They have three metropolitans and
twelve bishops in Egypt, one metropolitan and two bishops in Abyssinia,
and one bishop in Khartum. There are also arch-priests, priests,
deacons, and monks. Priests must be married before ordination, but
celibacy is imposed upon monks and high dignitaries. The Abyssinian
Church is ruled by a metropolitan, and bishops are chosen from amongst
the Egyptian-Koptic ecclesiastics, nor can the coronation of the King of
Abyssinia take place until he has been anointed by the metropolitan, and
this only after the authorisation by the Patriarch of Alexandria.

[Illustration: 235.jpg PAGE IMAGE]


_The White and Blue Niles: The Barrage: Clearing the Sudd: The Suez
Canal: Ancient and modern irrigation: The Dam at Aswan: The modern
exploration of the Nile._

Between the Sudan and the Mediterranean the only perennial stream is
the Nile, a word probably derived from the Semitic root nahal, meaning
a valley or a river-valley, and subsequently a "river," in a pre-eminent
and exclusive sense. The ancient Egyptians called it the Ar or Aur
(Koptic, Iaro), or "black"; hence the Greek word [...] allusion to the
colour, not of the water, but of the sediment which it precipitated
during the floods. In contrast to the yellow sands of the surrounding
desert, the Nile mud is black enough to have given the land itself its
oldest name, Kem, or Kemi, which has the same meaning of "black." At
Khartum, where the White Nile joins the Blue Nile, the main branch has
a fall from its upper level in the region of the tropical lakes, four
thousand feet above the sea, to twelve hundred feet, while traversing
a distance of twenty-three hundred miles. From Khartum to the sea the
distance through which the waters of the Nile wend their way is about
eighteen hundred and forty miles. During the greater part of this course
the flow is level, the average descent being about eight inches per
mile. If it were not, therefore, for the obstruction met with in the
Nubian section, the course of the Nile would be everywhere navigable.
Although no perennial affluents enter the main stream lower down
than Khartum, the volume of the Nile remains with little diminution
throughout the entire distance to the Mediterranean. During the period
of low water the amount of water in different localities is still
uniform, notwithstanding all the irrigation, infiltration, and
evaporation constantly taking place. The only explanation which has been
given to this phenomenon is that there are hidden wells in the bed of
the Nile, and from their flow the waste is ever renewed.

As the earth revolves from west to east, the waters of the Nile tend
to be driven upon the right bank on the west, where the current is
constantly eating away the sandstone and limestone cliffs. For
this reason the left side of the river is far more fertile and well
cultivated than the right bank. Below Ombos the valley is narrowly
constructed, being but thirteen hundred yards in width, the cliffs
overhanging the river on either side, but at Thebes it broadens out to
nine or ten miles, and farther up, in the Keneh district, the valley is
twelve or fifteen miles in width. The river here approaches within sixty
miles of the Red Sea, and it is believed that a branch of the Nile once
flowed out into the sea in this direction.

[Illustration: 237.jpg THE PLAIN OF THEBES]

Seventy miles below Keneh the Nile throws from its left bank the Bahr
Yusef branch, a small current of 350 feet in breadth, which flows for
hundreds of miles through the broader strip of alluvial land between the
main stream and the Libyan escarpments. In the Beni-Suef district this
stream again bifurcates, the chief branch continuing to wind along the
Nile Valley to a point above the Delta, where it joins the main
stream. The left branch penetrates westward through a gap in the
Libyan escarpments into the Fayum depression, ramifying into a thousand
irrigating rills, and pouring its overflow into the Birket-el-Qarum, or
"Lake of Horns," which still floods the lowest cavity and is a remnant
of the famous ancient Lake Moris. The Fayum, which is the territory
reclaimed from the former lake, is now an exceedingly productive
district, a sort of inland delta, fed like the marine delta by the
fertilising flood-waters of the Nile.

The traveller Junker wrote of this district in 1875: "I found myself
surrounded by a garden tract of unsurpassed fertility, where there was
scarcely room for a path amid the exuberant growths; where pedestrians,
riders, and animals had to move about along the embankments of countless
canals. Now a land of roses, of the vine, olive, sugar-cane, and cotton,
where the orange and lemon plants attain the size of our apple-trees, it
was in primeval times an arid depression of the stony and sandy Libyan

North of the Fayum the Nile flows on to Cairo, where the narrow water
way allowed to its course by the two lines of cliffs widens, and the
cliffs recede to the right and left. There is thus space for the waters
to spread and ramify over the alluvial plain. Nearly all this portion
of Egypt has been covered by the sediment of the Nile, and from the
earliest times there have been numerous distinct branches or channels of
the river running out by separate openings into the sea. As several of
these branches have been tapped to a great extent for irrigation, all
except two have ceased to be true outlets of the Nile. In the Greek
period there were seven mouths and several [...Greek...], or "false
mouths." The two remaining mouths are those of Rosetta and Damietta, and
these were always the most important of the number. They branched off
formerly close to the present spot where Cairo stands, a little below
Memphis; but during two thousand years the fork has gradually shifted to
about thirteen miles lower down.

The triangular space enclosed by these two branches and the sea-coast
was called by the Greeks the delta, on account of the likeness in
shape to the Greek letter of that name A. At the head, or apex, of the
triangle stands the famous barrage, or dam, begun in 1847 by Mehemet
Ali, for the twofold purpose of reclaiming many thousand acres of waste
land, and of regulating the discharge and the navigation through the
Delta. The idea was originated by a Frenchman in his service named
Linant Bey. This engineer desired to alter the course of the river and
build a weir at a point farther to the north, where the contour of land
seemed to favour the design more than that of the present locality.
Mehemet Ali thought his plans too costly, and accepted in preference
those of Mougel Bey. Unexpected difficulties were encountered from the
very beginning. Mehemet was exceedingly anxious to hurry the work, and
Mougel Bey had only made a beginning, when an exceptionally high Nile
carried away all the lime in the concrete base. Mehemet Ali did not
live to see the completion of this work. The object, could it have been
realised, was to hold up the waters of the Nile during the eight months
of the ebb, and thus keep them on a level with the soil, and at the same
time to supply Lower Egypt with an amount of water equal to that which
came down during flood-time. It was hoped to cover the very large
expenditure by the additional land which it was expected would come
under irrigation, and by doing away with the primitive _shadoofs_
and setting free for productive enterprise the numerous army of the
agricultural labourers who spent the greater part of their time in
slowly raising up buckets of water from the Nile and pouring them into
the irrigating channels.

[Illustration: 240b.jpg Harbour at Suez]

The barrage is a double bridge, or weir, the eastern part spanning the
Damietta branch of the Nile, the western part the Rosetta branch. The
appearance of the structure is so light and graceful that the spectator
finds it hard to conceive of the difficulty and the greatness of the
work itself. Architecturally, the barrage is very beautiful, with
a noble front and a grand effect, produced by a line of castellated
turrets, which mark the site of the sluice gates. There are two lofty
crenellated towers, corresponding with the towers over the gateway of
a mediaeval baronial castle. The sluices are formed of double cones of
hollow iron, in a semicircular form, worked on a radii of rods fixed to
a central axis at each side of the sluice-gate. They are slowly raised
or let down by the labour of two men, the gates being inflected as they
descend in the direction of the bed of that part of the river whose
waters are retained. The working of the barrage was never what it was
intended to be. After the year 1867 it ceased to be of any practical
utility, and was merely an impediment to navigation. Between the
years 1885--90, however, during the British occupation, Sir Colon
Scott-Moncrieff successfully completed the barrage at a cost of
$2,500,000, and now the desired depth of eight feet of water on the
lower part of the Nile can always be maintained.

[Illustration: 241.jpg THE NILE BARRAGE]

It proved to be of the greatest advantage in saving labour worth
hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and in the irrigation and
navigation facilities that had been contemplated as among the benefits
which would naturally accrue from its successful completion.

Compared with the advance of the land seaward at the estuary of the
Mississippi and the Ganges, the advance of the Nile seaward is very
slow. This is accounted for by the geological theory that the Delta
of the Nile is gradually sinking. If this is so, the tendency of the
periodical deposit to raise the level of the Delta will be counteracted
by the annual subsidence. These phenomena account for the gradual burial
of Egyptian monuments under the sand, although the actual level of the
sea above what it formerly was is quite unappreciable.

The periodical rise in the Nile, recurring as regularly as the
revolutions of the heavenly bodies, necessarily remained an unsolved
mystery to the ancients, for until the discovery of the tropical
regions, with their mountainous lakes and deluging rains, it was
impossible to learn the occasion of this increase. It is now known that
the Blue Nile, flowing out of the mountainous parts of Abyssinia, is the
sole cause of the periodic overflow of the Nile. Without the tropical
rains of the Ethiopian tablelands, there would be no great rise nor any
fertilising deposits. Without the White Nile, which runs steadily from
the perennial reservoirs of the great Central African lakes, the Lower
Nile would assume the character of an intermittent wady, such as the
neighbouring Khor Baraka, periodically flushed by the discharge of
the torrential downpours from Abyssinia. Though there is a periodical
increase in the flow of the upper waters of the White Nile, yet the
effect of this, lower down, is minimised by the dense quantities of
vegetable drift, which, combining with the forest of aquatic growth,
forms those vast barriers, known by the name of _sudd_, which not only
arrest navigation but are able to dam up large bodies of water.

The sudd, it is supposed, stopped the advance of the Roman centurions
who were sent up the Nile in the days of Nero. Sir Samuel Baker was
the one who first pointed out the great disadvantage of allowing the
vegetable matter to accumulate, both to merchants and to those who were
employed to suppress the slave-trade. In the year 1863 the two branches
of the White Nile were blocked above their junction at Lake No. Once
blocked, the accumulation rapidly increased from the stoppage of outlet,
forming the innumerable floating islands which at this part of the Nile
customarily float down-stream. A marsh of vast extent had been
formed, and to all appearance, as Baker narrates, the White Nile had
disappeared. Baker cut through fifty miles of the sudd, and urged the
khédive to reopen the Nile. The work was successfully undertaken by
Ishmail Ayub Pasha, and the White Nile became clear for large vessels
when Gordon reached Khartum in 1874. It is practically impossible to
keep the central provinces of the Nile open to civilisation unless
the course of the Nile is free. Yet in 1878 the obstruction had been
renewed, and during the occupation of these provinces by the rebel
dervishes under the Mahdi and the califa the Nile was completely
blocked, as formerly, at Lake No. The alarming failure of the Nile flood
in 1899--1900 was generally attributed to this blockade, and in
1899 fifty thousand dollars was placed at the disposal of the
governor-general for reopening the White Nile by removing the vast
accumulation of sudd which blocked the Bahr-el-Jebel from Lake No almost
as far as Shambeh. The work was started under the direction of Sir
William Garstin in 1899. In 1900 the greater part of the sudd had been
removed by the strenuous labours of Major Peake, and the Nile again
became navigable from Khartum to Rejaf. The sudd was found to be piled
up and of almost as close a structure as peat. It was sawn out in blocks
ten feet square and carried away by gunboats. In the years 1901--02
further progress was made, and twenty thousand dollars appropriated
for the work; and by means of constant patrolling the sudd is now
practically absent from the whole course of the White Nile.

The discharge of the flood waters from the Upper Nile begins to make
itself felt in Lower Nubia and Egypt in the month of June, at first
slightly, and after the middle of July much more rapidly, the river
continuing to rise steadily till the first week in October, when it
reaches high-water mark, nearly fifty-four or fifty-five feet at the
Egyptian frontier, and twenty-five or twenty-six feet at Cairo. A
subsidence then sets in, and continues till low-water level is again
reached, usually about the end of May. The floods are then much higher
and confined to a narrower space in the Nubian section of the Nile,
while they gradually die out in the region of the Delta, where the
excess seawards is discharged by the Rosetta and Damietta branches. In
place of the old Nilometers, the amount of the rise of the Nile is now
reported by telegraph from meteorological stations.

It is popularly supposed that at every rise the plains of the Delta are
inundated, but this is not the case. The actual overflow of the banks
of the river and canals is the exception, and when it happens is most
disastrous. The irrigation of fields and plantations is effected by
slow infiltration through the retaining dykes, which are prevented
from bursting by the process of slow absorption. The first lands to be
affected are not those which are nearest to the dyke, but those which
are of the lowest level, because the waters, in percolating through
under the ground, reach the surface of these parts first. In Manitoba
during a dry season sometimes the roots of the wheat strike down deep
enough to reach the reservoir of moisture under ground. In Egypt this
underground moisture is what is counted upon, but it is fed by a special
and prepared system, and is thus brought to the roots of the plants

[Illustration: 245.jpg SCALE OF THE NILOMETER]

An analysis of the Nile alluvium, which has accumulated in the course of
ages to a thickness of from three to four feet above the old river-bed,
shows that it contains a considerable percentage of such fertilising
substances as carbonate of lime and magnesia, silicates of aluminum,
carbon, and several oxides. Where the water has to be raised to higher
levels, two processes are used. The primitive shadoof of native origin
figured on a monument as far back as 3,300 years ago, and the more
modern sakieh was apparently introduced in later times from Syria and
Persia. The shadoof is used on small farms, and the sakieh is more often
used for larger farms and plantations. These contrivances line the whole
course of the Nile from Lower Egypt to above Khartum. The shadoof will
raise six hundred gallons ten feet in an hour, and consists of a pole
weighted at one end, with a bucket at the other; when the water is
raised the weight counterbalances the weight of the full bucket. The
sakieh, which will raise twelve hundred gallons twenty or twenty-four
feet in an hour, is a modified form of a Persian wheel, made to revolve
by a beast of burden; it draws an endless series of buckets up from the
water, and automatically empties them into a trough or other receptacle.
In former times these appliances were heavily taxed and made the
instruments of oppression, but these abuses have been reformed since
Egypt came under a more humane form of government.

Another interesting feature of the water ways of Egypt is the
intermittent watercourses. The largest of these is the Khor Baraka
(Barka), which flows out towards Tapan, south of Suakin. It presents
some analogy to the Nile, and in part was undoubtedly a perennial stream
250 miles long, and draining seven or eight thousand square miles. At
present its flat sandy bed, winding between well-wooded banks, is dry
for a great part of the year. This route is extensively used for the
caravan trade between Suakin and Kassala. During September the water
begins to flow, but is spasmodic. After the first flood the natives
plant their crops, but sometimes the second flow, being too great,
cannot be confined to the limits prepared for it, and the crops are
carried away and the sowing must of necessity be started again.

[Illustration: 247.jpg A MODERN SAKIEH]

The canals of Egypt are of great aid in extending the beneficial
influence of the inundations of the Nile. In Lower Egypt is the
Mahmudiyeh Canal, connecting Alexandria with the Rosetta branch, and
following the same direction as an ancient canal which preceded it.

Mehemet Ali constructed this canal, which is about fifty miles long and
one hundred feet broad. It is believed that twelve thousand labourers
perished during its construction. Between the Rosetta and the Damietta
branches of the Nile there are other canals, such as the Manuf, which
connects the two branches of the river at a point not far from the
Delta. East of the Damietta branch are other canals, occupying the
ancient river-beds of the Tanitic and Pelusiac branches of the Nile.
One of these is called the canal of the El-Muiz, from the first Fatimite
caliph who ruled in Egypt, and who ordered it to be constructed.
Another is named the canal of Abul-Munegga, from the name of the Jew who
executed this work under the caliph El-'Amir, in order to bring water
into the province of Sharkiyah. This last canal is connected with the
remains of the one which in ancient times joined the Nile with the Red
Sea. After falling into neglect it has again in part been restored and
much increased in length as the Sweet Water Canal.

Further mention may also be made of the great canal called the
Bahr-Yusef, or River Joseph, which is important enough to be classed as
a ramification of the Nile itself. As has been mentioned, this water way
runs parallel with the Nile on the west side below Cairo for about 350
miles to Farshut, and is the most important irrigation canal in Egypt.
It is a series of canals rather than one canal. Tradition states that
this canal was repaired by the celebrated Saladin. Another tradition,
relating that the canal existed in the time of the Pharaohs, has
recently been proved to be correct.

Egypt possesses not only the greatest natural water way in the world,
but also the greatest artificial water way--the Suez Canal. Before the
opening of this canal there were in the past other canals which afforded
communication between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. These ancient
canals differed in one respect from the Suez Canal, since they were all
fed by the fresh waters of the Nile. One of these still remains in use,
and is called the Fresh Water Canal. According to Aristotle, Strabo, and
Pliny, Sesostris was the first to conceive and carry out the idea of a
water connection between the two seas, by means of the Pelusiac branch
of the Nile from Avaris to Bubastis, and by rendering navigable the
irrigation canal which already existed between Bubastis and Heroopolis.
It is believed by some that the fragment bearing the oval of Ramses II.
found near the course of the present canal affords confirmation of this

The first authentic account of the carrying out of the conception of
an inter-sea water way is to be found in the time of Pharaoh Necho II.,
about the year 610 B.C. Herodotus records of Necho that he was "the
first to attempt the construction of the canal to the Red Sea." This
canal tapped the Nile at Bubastis, near Zagazig, and followed closely
the line of modern Wady Canal to Heroopolis, the site of which lies in
the neighbourhood of Toussun and Serapeum, between the Bitter Lakes and
Lake Tinseh. At that date the Red Sea reached much farther inland than
it does now, and was called in the upper portion the Heroopolite Gulf.
The expanse of brackish water, now known as the Bitter Lakes, was then,
in all probability, directly connected with the Red Sea. The length
of this canal, according to Pliny, was sixty-two miles, or about
fifty-seven English miles. This length, allowing for the sinuosity of
the valley traversed, agrees with the distance between the site of old
Bubastis and the present head of the Bitter Lakes. The length given
by Herodotus of more than one thousand stadia (114 miles) must be
understood to include the whole distance between the two seas, both by
the Nile and by the canal. Herodotus relates that it cost the lives of
120,000 men to cut the canal. He says that the undertaking was abandoned
because of a warning from an oracle that the barbarians alone, meaning
the Persians, would benefit by the success of the enterprise.


The true reason for relinquishing the plan probably was that the
Egyptians believed the Red Sea to have been higher in altitude than the
Nile. They feared that if the canal were opened between the Nile and
the Red Sea the salt water would flow in and make the waters of the Nile
brackish. This explanation would indicate a lack of knowledge of locks
and sluices on the part of the Egyptians.

The work of Necho was continued by Darius, the son of Hystaspes (520
B.C.). The natural channel of communication between the Heroopolite
Gulf and the Red Sea had begun to fill up with silt even in the time of
Necho, and a hundred years later, in the time of Darius, was completely
blocked, so that it had to be entirely cleaned out to render it
navigable. The traces of this canal can still be plainly seen in the
neighbourhood of Shaluf, near the south end of the Bitter Lakes. The
present fresh-water canal was also made to follow its course for some
distance between that point and Suez. Persian monuments have been found
by Lepsius in the neighbourhood, commemorating the work of Darius. On
one of these the name of Darius is written in the Persian cuneiform
characters, and on a cartouche in the Egyptian form. Until this date it
therefore appears that ships sailed up the Pelusiac branch of the Nile
to Bubastis, and thence along the canal to Heroopolis, where the cargoes
were transhipped to the Red Sea. This inconvenient transfer of cargoes
was remedied by the next Egyptian sovereign, who bestowed much care on
the water connection between the two seas.

Ptolemy Philadelphus (285 B.C.), in addition to cleaning out and
thoroughly restoring the two canals, joined the fresh-water canal with
the Heroopolite Gulf by means of a lock and sluices, which permitted the
passage of vessels, and were effective in preventing the salt water from
mingling with the fresh water. At the point where the canal joined the
Heroopolite Gulf to the Red Sea, Ptolemy founded the town of Arsinoë, a
little to the north of the modern Suez.

The line of communication between the two seas was impassable during
the reign of Cleopatra (31 b.c.). It is believed by some that it was
restored during the reign of the Roman emperor Trajan (98-117). During
this period the Pelusiac branch of the Nile was very low, the water
having almost completely deserted this formerly well-filled course.
If Trajan, therefore, undertook to reopen the water way, he must have
tapped the Nile much higher up, in order to reach a plentiful supply of
water. The old canal near Cairo, which elsewhere joined the line of
the former canal on the way to the Bitter Lakes, was once called "Amnis
Trajanus," and from this it has been inferred that Trajan was really the
builder, and that during his reign this canal was cleaned and rendered
navigable. As there is no further evidence than the name to prove that
Trajan undertook so important an enterprise, the "Amnis Trajanus" was
probably constructed during the Arabic period.

When Amr had conquered Egypt, according to another account, the caliph
Omar ordered him to ship rich supplies of grain to Mecca and Medina,
because during the pilgrimages these cities and often the whole of
Hedjaz suffered severely from famine. As it was extremely difficult to
send large quantities of provisions across the desert on the backs
of camels, it is supposed that to facilitate this transportation Omar
ordered the construction of the canal from a point near Cairo to the
head of the Red Sea. On account of his forethought in thus providing for
the pilgrims to the Hedjaz, Omar received the title of "Prince of the
Faithful" (Emir el-Momenéen), which thenceforth was adopted by his
successors in the caliphate. One hundred and thirty-four years after
this time, El-Mansur, the second caliph of the Abbasid dynasty, is said
to have closed the canal to prevent supplies from being shipped to one
of the descendants of Ali who had revolted at Medina. Since that time it
is probable that it has never been reopened, although there is a report
that the Sultan Hakim rendered it available for the passage of boats in
the year A.D. 1000, after which it was neglected and became choked with
sand. While not thereafter used for navigation, there were parts which
during the time of the annual inundation of the Nile were filled with
water, until Mehemet Ali prevented this. The parts filled during the
inundation extended as far as Sheykh Hanaydik, near Toussun and the
Bitter Lakes.

The old canal which left the Nile at Cairo had long ceased to flow
beyond the outskirts of the city, and the still more ancient canal from
the neighbourhood of Bubastis, now known as the Wady Canal, extended
only a few miles in the direction of the isthmus as far as Kassassin.
During the construction of the Suez Canal the need of supplying the
labourers with fresh water was imperative. The company, therefore,
determined in 1861 to prolong the canal from Kassassin to the centre of
the isthmus, and in the year 1863 they brought the fresh-water canal as
far as Suez. In one or two places the bed of the old canal was cleared
out and made to serve the new canal. The level of the fresh-water canal
is about twenty feet above that of the Suez Canal, which it joins at
Ismailia by means of two locks. The difference of level between it and
the Red Sea is remedied by four locks constructed between Nefeesh and
its terminus at Suez. Its average depth of water at high Nile is six
feet, and at low Nile three feet.

A canal from Bulak, near Cairo, passing by Heliopolis and Belbeys, and
joining the Wady Canal a few miles east of Zagazig, restores the line
of water communication between the Nile and the Red Sea as it existed
perhaps in the time of Trajan, and certainly as it was in the time of
the Caliph Omar. The improvement of this canal as a means of transit is
local and external only.

Napoleon Bonaparte was the first in modern times to take up the subject
of a water connection between the two seas. In 1798 he examined the
traces of the old canal of Necho and his successors, and ordered
Monsieur Lepère to survey the isthmus and prepare a project for uniting
the two seas by a direct canal. The result of this French engineer's
labours was to discover a supposed difference of thirty feet between
the Red Sea at high tide and the Mediterranean at low tide. As this
inequality of level seemed to preclude the idea of a direct maritime
canal, a compromise was recommended.

Owing to the exertions of Lieutenant Waghorn, the route through
Egypt for the transmission of the mails between England and India was
determined upon in 1839. The Peninsular and Oriental Company established
a service of steamers between England and Alexandria, and between Suez
and India. In spite of this endeavour nothing was actually accomplished
with regard to a canal until 1846, when a mixed commission was appointed
to enquire into the subject. This commission entirely exploded the error
into which Lepère had fallen in reporting a difference of level between
the two seas.

A plan was projected in 1855 by M. Linant Bey and M. Mougel Bey, under
the superintendence of M. de Les-seps, who had already received a firman
of concession from Said Pasha. This plan recommended a direct canal
between Suez and Pelusium, which should pass through the Bitter Lakes,
Lake Tinseh, Ballah, and Menzaleh, and connecting with the sea at each
end by means of a lock. A fresh-water canal from Bulak to the centre of
the isthmus and thence through Suez, with a conduit for conveying water
to Pelusium, was also proposed. This project was in 1856 submitted to
an international commission company composed of representatives from
England, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Prussia, and Spain,
and the following modification was suggested: that the line of the canal
to the north should be slightly altered and brought to a point seventeen
and a half miles west of Pelusium, this change being determined upon
from the fact that the water at this point was from twenty-five to
thirty feet deep at a distance of two miles from the coast, whereas at
Pelusium this depth of water was only to be found at a distance of
five miles from the coast. It was suggested that the plan for locks
be abolished, and the length of the jetties at Suez and Port Said be
diminished. Various other details of a minor character were determined,
and this project was finally accepted and carried through by the Suez
Canal Company.

[Illustration: 259.jpg FERDINAND DE LESSEPS]

In 1854 M. Ferdinand de Lesseps, whose father was the first
representative of France in Egypt after the occupation, and who was
chosen consul at Cairo (1831--1838), obtained a preliminary concession
from Said Pasha, authorising him to form a company for the purpose of
excavating a canal between the two seas, and laying down the connections
on which the concession was granted. This was followed by the drawing up
and revision of the project mentioned above, and by the renewal in
1856 of the first concession with certain modifications and additions.
Meanwhile the British government, under the influence of Lord
Palmerston, then foreign secretary, endeavoured for various political
reasons to place obstacles in the way of the enterprise, and so far
succeeded in this unworthy attempt as to prevent the sultan from giving
his assent to the concessions made by the viceroy of Egypt. Nothing,
however, could daunt the intrepid promoter, M. de Lesseps. He declared
his motto to be "Pour principe de commencer par avoir de la con-fiance."
Undeterred by intrigues, and finding that his project met with a
favourable reception throughout the Continent of Europe, he determined,
in 1858, to open a subscription which would secure funds for the
undertaking. The capital, according to the statistics of the company,
approved in the firman of the concession, was to consist of forty
million dollars in shares of one hundred dollars each. More than half
of this amount was subscribed for, and eventually, in 1860, Said Pasha
consented to take up the remaining unallotted shares, amounting to more
than twelve million dollars. Disregarding the opposition of the English
government, and ignoring the Sublime Porte, which was influenced by
England, M. de Lesseps began his work in 1859, and on the 25th of April
of that year the work was formally commenced, in the presence of M. de
Lesseps and four directors of the company, by the digging of a small
trench along the projected line of the canal, on the narrow strip of
land between Lake Menzaleh and the Mediterranean. This was followed
by the establishment of working encampments in different parts of the

Although the first steps were thus taken, incredible difficulties
prevented de Lesseps from pushing forward with his work. Towards the
close of 1862 the actual results were only a narrow "rigole" cut from
the Mediterranean to Lake Tinseh, and the extension of the freshwater
canal from Rasel-Wady to the same point. The principal work done in 1863
was the continuation of the fresh-water canal to Suez. At this point a
fresh obstacle arose which threatened to stop the work altogether.
Among the articles of the concession of 1856 was one providing that
four-fifths of the workmen on the canal should be Egyptians. Said Pasha
consented to furnish these workmen by conscription from different parts
of Egypt, and the company agreed to pay them at a rate equal to about
two-thirds less than was given for similar work in Europe, and one-third
more than they received in their own country, and to provide them with
food, dwellings, etc. In principle this was the _corvée_, or forced
labour. The fellaheen were taken away from their homes and set to work
at the canal, though there is no doubt that they were as well treated
and better paid than at home. The injustice and impolicy of this clause
had always been insisted upon to the sultan by the English government,
and when Ismail Pasha became viceroy, in the year 1863, he saw that
the constant drain upon the working population required to keep twenty
thousand fresh labourers monthly for the canal was a loss to the country
for which nothing could compensate. In the early part of 1864 he refused
to continue to send the monthly contingent, and the work was almost

By the consent of all the parties, the subjects in dispute were
submitted to the arbitrage of the French Emperor Napoleon III., who
decided that the two concessions of 1854 and 1856, being in the nature
of a contract and binding on both parties, the Egyptian government
should pay an indemnity equal to the fellah labour and $6,000,000 for
the resumption of the lands originally granted, two hundred metres only
being retained on each side of the canal for the erection of workshops,
the deposit of soil, etc., and $3,200,000 for the fresh-water canal, and
the right of levying tolls on it. The Egyptian government undertook to
keep it in repair and navigable, and to allow the company free use of
it for any purpose. The sum total of these payments amounted to
$16,800,000, and was to be paid in sixteen instalments from 1864 to

The company now proceeded to replace by machinery the manual labour,
and, thanks to the energy and ingenuity of the principal contractors,
Messrs. Borel and Lavalley, that which seemed first of all to threaten
destruction to the enterprise now led to its ultimate success. Without
the machinery thus called into action, it is probable that the canal
would never have been completed when it was. The ingenuity displayed
in the invention of this machinery, and its application to this vast
undertaking, constituted one of the chief glories in the enterprise of
M. de Lesseps.

The work now proceeded without interruption of any kind; but at the end
of the year 1867 it became evident that more money would be needed, and
a subscription was opened for the purpose of obtaining $20,000,000 by
means of one hundred dollar shares, issued at $600 a share, and bearing
interest at the rate of five dollars a share. When more money was needed
in 1869, the government agreed to renounce the interest on the shares
held by it for twenty-five years, and more bonds were issued.

By help of these subventions and loans the work was pushed onward with
great vigour. The sceptical were gradually losing their scepticism,
and all the world was awakening to see what an immense advantage to
civilisation the triumph of de Lesseps' engineering enterprise would be.

[Illustration: 263.jpg THE OPENING OF THE SUEZ CANAL]

The great Frenchman had shown consummate skill as an organiser, but
still more perhaps as an astute diplomatist, who knew how to upset
the machinations of his numerous and powerful opponents by judicious
counter-strokes of policy. By the beginning of 1869, the great labours
of the company had very nearly reached their completion. The waters,
flowing from the Mediterranean, first entered into the Bitter Lakes on
March 18, 1869. Ismail Pasha was present to watch the initial success of
the grand undertaking, and predicted that in a very short space of time
the canal would be open to the ships of all the world. The first steamer
which made the passage was one which carried M. de Lesseps on board,
and which steamed the whole length of the canal September, 1869, in an
interval of fifteen hours. This was a great triumph for the intrepid and
persevering engineer, whose enterprise had been scoffed at by many men
of the greatest European fame, and the completion of which had been
delayed by incredible obstacles arising from jealousy or want of funds.
By this time the unworthy tactics of the former Palmerston ministry of
Great Britain in opposition to a scheme of such universal helpfulness
to commerce had been succeeded by an official interest in the success
of the enterprise which grew from sentiment, in the first instance, to
a willingness later to buy up all the shares held by the Egyptian
government. M. de Lesseps gave formal notice early in September that the
canal would be opened for navigation on November 17, 1869. The khédive
made costly preparations in order that the event might become an
international celebration. Invitations were sent to all the sovereigns
of Europe. The sultan refused to be present, but the Empress Eugenie
accepted the invitation in the name of the French people. The Austrian
emperor, the Prussian crown prince, and Prince Amadeus of Italy also
took part in the festivity. The initial ceremony was on November 15th,
at Port Said. Emperor Francis Joseph landed at midday, and was received
with pomp and magnificence by the Khedive Ismail. There were splendid
decorations in the streets and triumphal arches were raised. Meanwhile
salutes were exchanged between the batteries and the ships of war in the
harbour. At night there were gorgeous illuminations and fireworks. The
khédive gave a grand ball on his own yacht, at which the Emperor of
Austria and all the distinguished guests were in attendance. The French
empress then arrived in Alexandria, and was received by Ismail and
Francis Joseph with salutes of guns and the acclamations of the people.
The next day the French imperial yacht Aigle, with the empress on board,
proceeded to steam up the canal, being followed by forty vessels. They
reached Ismailia after eight hours and a half, and were there met by
vessels coming from the south end at Suez. On November 19th the fleet
of steamers, led by the French imperial yacht, set out for Suez. They
anchored overnight at the Bitter Lakes, and on November 21st the whole
fleet of forty-five steamers arrived at Suez and entered the Red Sea.
The empress, accompanied by the visiting fleet, returned on November
22nd, and reached the Mediterranean on the 23rd.

England, the country which more than any other had opposed the progress
of the canal, derived more benefit than any other country from its
completion. In 1875 the British government bought 176,600 shares from
the khédive for a sum of nearly $20,000,000; and at the present time the
value of these shares has risen more than fourfold. By this acquisition
the British government became the largest shareholder. Of the shipping
which avails itself of this route to the East, which is shorter by six
thousand miles than any other, about eighty per cent, is British. In
1891, of 4,207 ships, with a grain tonnage of 12,218,000, as many as
3,217 of 9,484,000 tons were British.

Extensive works were undertaken in 1894 for the widening of the canal.
Illuminated buoys and electric lights have been introduced to facilitate
the night traffic, so that, proceeding continuously, instead of stopping
overnight, ships can now pass through in less than twenty hours in place
of the thirty-five or forty hours which were formerly taken to effect
the passage. These greater facilities postponed the need of discussing
the project for running a parallel canal to the East which some time ago
was thought to be an impending necessity on account of the blockage of
the canal by the number of vessels passing through its course.

By the Anglo-French Convention of 1888, the canal had acquired an
international character. Both the water way itself and the isthmus for
three miles on either side were declared neutral territory, exempt from
blockade, fortification, or military occupation of any kind. The passage
is to remain open for all time to ships of all nations, whether they are
war-ships or merchantmen or liners, or whether the country to which they
belong is engaged in war or enjoying peace. Within this convention was
included the fresh-water canal which supplies drinking water to Ismailia
and Port Said, and all the floating population about the banks of
the Suez Canal. On April 8, 1904, by the terms of a new Anglo-French
Colonial Treaty, it has been jointly agreed that the provisions of the
Convention of 1888 shall remain in force for the next thirty years.

Egypt was the scene of the earliest of all advances in engineering
science. The system of irrigation, which originated in the days of the
oldest Egyptian dynasties, has remained practically the same through all
the intervening centuries until very recent times. During every period
of vigorous government the rulers of Egypt paid special attention to
irrigation canals and sluices, through which the flood waters could
be brought to some hitherto uncultivated area. The famous barrage,
projected early in the nineteenth century and only rendered efficient
for what it was intended since the British occupation, made very little
alteration in the actual supply of water during the seasons of low water
in the Nile. The most serious problem is how to ward off the periodical
famine years, of which there has been record from the earliest ages,
and of which the Book of Genesis has left an account in the history of
Joseph and the seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. Without
creating such a vast reservoir in the upper waters of the Nile, that the
storage there retained can be available in years of low water to fill
the river to its accustomed level, it is impossible to prevent
the calamity occasioned by leaving many districts of Egypt without
cultivation for one or more seasons. With the desire of accomplishing
this, Sir Benjamin Baker, the leading authority on engineering works in
Egypt, prepared a scheme for reserving a vast storage of water in Upper
Egypt at Aswan. It was also decided to follow up the enterprise with
another to be undertaken at Assiut.

On February 20,1898, the khédive approved of a contract with Messrs.
John Aird and Company, which settled the much-debated question of the
Nile reservoir and the scheme for the great dam at Aswan. The government
was able to start the undertaking without any preliminary outlay. It was
agreed that the company should receive the sum of $800,000 a year for
a period of thirty years. Aswan, six hundred miles south of Cairo, was
selected as an advantageous site because the Nile at that place flows
over a granite bed, and is shut in on either side by granite rocks,
which, when the course of the river is barred, would form the shores of
the artificial irrigation lake.

Before this work started, there had been a long controversy as to the
effect produced by the rising waters upon the renowned temple on the
Isle of Philæ. Lord Leighton, the president of the Royal Academy, had
vigorously protested against allowing the destruction of this famous
ancient ruin. In the modification of the plans caused by this protest,
it was hoped that no serious harm would result to this well-preserved
relic of ancient Egyptian religion and art.

[Illustration: 269.jpg APPROACH TO PHILAE]

The enterprise was put through with great rapidity, the project
fully realising the designs of its inaugurators. By aid of this great
structure, 2,500 square miles have been added to the area of the 10,500
miles hitherto subject to cultivation. Its value to the country is at
the least worth $100,000,000. The dam extends for one and a quarter
miles, and possesses 180 openings, each of which is twenty-three feet
high, and will altogether allow the outpour of fifteen thousand tons of
water per second. Navigation up and down the Nile has not been impeded,
since, by a chain of four locks, vessels are able to pass up and down
the river. Each lock is 260 feet long and thirty-two feet wide. During
flood-time the gates of the dam are open; while the flood is subsiding
the gates are gradually closed, and thus, in a long season of low water,
the reservoir is gradually filled up for use through a system of canals,
whereby the waters can be drawn off for irrigation and the main flow of
the Nile can be increased. The lake thus formed is nearly three times
the superficial area of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, and the waters are
held back for a distance of 140 miles up the course of the river. The
reservoir is filled during the months of January and February, and from
April to the end of August the water is let out for irrigation purposes
from the bottom of the reservoir, thus enabling the sediment, which
is of such value, to be carried out through the sluices. Four or five
waterings are allowed to percolate from it to the various regions which
are thus brought under cultivation, and besides this the main supply of
the river itself is artificially increased at the same time.

The dam has been constructed of granite ashlar taken from quarries near
Aswan. These quarries are the very same from which the ancient obelisks
were hewn. The amount of rock used was about one million tons in
weight. In building the dam it was found to be very difficult to lay the
foundation, since the bottom of the river proved to be unsound, although
in the preliminary reports it had been declared to be of solid granite.
In some instances it was found necessary to dig down for forty feet, in
order to lay a perfectly secure foundation on which the heavy wall could
be superimposed. This required much additional labour, and great risk
and damage was encountered during the progress of the work at the date
of the impending rise of the waters of the Nile. Rubble dams were
raised to ward off the waters from the point where it was necessary to
excavate. The holes were gradually filled with solid blocks of granite;
then the base of the structure, one hundred feet in width, was laid,
and the massive piers, capable of resisting the immense pressure of
the water during the height of the floods, were raised, and the whole
edifice was at length completed with great rapidity by the aid of
many thousand workmen, just before the rise in the Nile occurred. The
official opening of the dam took place on the 10th of December, 1902.

The dam at Aswan is the greatest irrigation project ever yet undertaken,
but is by no means the last one likely to be executed in relation to
the waters of the Nile. A smaller dam is to be constructed at Assiut,
in order to supply a system of irrigation in the neighbourhood of that
city, and also to carry water across to thousands of acres between this
region and Cairo. This project is planned somewhat after the design of
the barrage which is below Cairo.

It is impossible to forecast what engineering skill may have in
store for the future of Egypt. One may hope, at least, that the most
prosperous days of the Pharaohs, the Ptolemies, and the Romans will be
reproduced once more for the modern Egyptians, as an outcome of the
wise administration which has originated through the occupation of the
country by the English, as an international trust held for civilisation.
By aid of British initiative, Egypt now controls a vast empire in
equatorial Africa and the Sudan, and the great water ways of this
immense territory are being gradually brought under such control that
the maximum advantage to all the population will be the necessary
result. The whole Nile is now opened to commerce. The British have
guaranteed equal rights, and what has been called the policy of the
"open door," for the commerce of all nations.

The history of the modern exploration of the Nile is closely associated
with the history of Egypt in modern times. The men who first
visited Egypt and ascended the Nile valley were in almost every case
Indo-Euro-peans. The early Egyptians were familiar perhaps with the
Nile as far as Khartum, and with the Blue Nile up to its source in Lake
Tsana, but they showed little or no interest in exploring the White
Nile. In 457 B.C., Herodotus entered Egypt, and ascended the Nile as
far as the First Cataract. He then learned many things about its upper
waters, and made enquiries about the territories which lay beyond.
He heard that the source was unknown; that there was a centre of
civilisation in a city of the Ethiopians, in the bend of the Nile at
Meroë (Merawi of to-day), but about the regions beyond he was unable to
learn anything. Eratosthenes, the earliest geographer of whom we
have record, was born in 276 b. c. at Cyrene, North Africa. From the
information he gathered and edited, he sketched a nearly correct route
of the Nile to Khartum. He also inserted the two Abyssinian affluents,
and suggested that lakes were the source of the river.

When Rome extended her domains over Egypt, in 30 B.C., the interest of
the Romans was aroused in the solution of the problem of the discovery
of the source of the Nile. Strabo set out with Ælius Gallus, the Roman
Governor of Egypt, on a journey of exploration up the Nile as far as
Philæ, at the First Cataract. About 30 B.C. Greek explorers by the names
of Bion, Dalion, and Si-mondes were engaged in active exploration of the
Nile above the First Cataract and perhaps south of Khartum, according to
the account of Pliny the Elder, writing in 50 A.D. The Emperor Nero, in
A.D. 66, sent an expedition up the Nile, and its members journeyed as
far as the modern Fashoda and perhaps even beyond the White Nile.
Their advance was impeded by the sudd, and, after writing discouraging
reports, their attempt was abandoned. Among the Greek merchants who
traded on the East African coast was one named Diogenes, who had been
informed by an Arab that by a twenty-five days' journey one could gain
access to a chain of great lakes, two of which were the headwaters of
the White Nile. They also said that there was a mountain range, named
from its brilliant appearance the Mountains of the Moon. He was informed
that the Nile formed from the two head streams, flowed through marshes
until it united with the Blue Nile, and then it flowed on until it
entered into well-known regions. Diogenes reported this to a Syrian
geographer named Marinus of Tyre, who wrote of it in his _Geography_
during the first century of the Christian era. The writings of Marinus
disappeared, it is supposed, when the Alexandrian Library was scattered,
but luckily Gladius Ptolemy quoted them, and thus they have been
preserved for us. Ptolemy wrote, in 150 A.D., the first clearly
intelligible account of the origin of the White Nile, the two lakes,
Victoria and Albert Nyanza, and the Mountains of the Moon. But no less
than 1,740 years elapsed before justice could be done to this ancient
geographer, and his account verified. It was Sir Henry M. Stanley who
discovered the Ruwanzori mountain range, corresponding to the classical
Mountains of the Moon, and who thus justified Ptolemy's view of
the topography of Africa. For many years after Ptolemy, the work of
exploring the sources of the Nile was entirely discontinued, and the
solution of the problem was still wrapped in impenetrable mystery.

The first modern explorer of any consequence who came from Great Britain
was a Scotchman named Bruce. In 1763 he travelled through many ports
of Northern Africa and visited the Levant, and subsequently Syria and
Palestine. Wherever he went he drew sketches of antiquities, which are
now preserved in the British Museum. Landing in Africa in 1786, he went
up the Nile as far as Aswan. From there he travelled to the Red Sea and
reached Jiddah, the port of Hajas. He then returned to Africa, stopping
at Massawra, and from there penetrated into the heart of Abyssinia.
The emperor received him with favour and suffered him to reach the Blue
Nile, which to the mind of Bruce had always been considered as the main
stream of the Nile. Having determined the latitude and longitude, he
went down the Blue Nile as far as the site of Khartum, where the waters
of the White Nile join with those of the Blue Nile. He next proceeded
to Berber, and crossed the desert to Korosko, returning, after a three
years' journey, in the year 1773. In journeying through France many
learned men took a great interest in the story of his explorations, but
he was bitterly disappointed to hear that he had not been the first to
reach the sources of the Blue Nile. Partly for this reason he delayed
publishing his travels for seventeen years after his return. Bruce was a
truthful and accurate writer, but nevertheless his book was received on
all sides with incredulity. Although received at the British court, he
was not given any special honours or decorations. He first pointed out
the great importance to England of controlling the Egyptian route to
India, and he also secured for English merchants a concession on the Red

In 1812, John Ludwig Burckhardt, of Swiss nationality, the first among
Europeans, made a pilgrimage to Mecca and then travelled up the Nile
to Korosko, after which he crossed the desert to Berber and Shendy.
His death occurred after his return to Cairo, and he left a valuable
collection of Oriental manuscripts to the University of Cambridge,
England, which were published after his death.

In 1827, a Belgian, named Adolphe Lisiant, ascended the White Nile to
within 150 miles of Khartum. The expedition which he led was aided by
an English society, called the "African Association," which became
afterwards a part of the Royal Geographical Society. Many explorers
visited the White Nile between 1827 and 1845. In 1845, John Pethrick, a
Welshman, explored the Nile for coal and precious metals in the interest
of Mehemet Ali. After the death of this pasha, Pethrick visited El-Obeid
in Kordofan as a trader, and remained there for five years. In 1853
he ventured upon an enterprise relating to the ivory trade. For this
purpose he travelled backwards and forwards upon the White Nile and the
Bahr-el-Ghazal for a period of six years, reaching some of the important
affluents of the Bahr-el-Ghazal, the Jur and the Jalo, or the Rol.
Returning to England, he was commissioned to undertake a relief
expedition to help Captains Speke and Grant, who had set out upon their
journey of exploration, and in the year 1861 he returned to Central
Africa. Interest in the slave-trade deterred him from following the
directions under which he had been sent out, namely, to bring relief
to Speke and Grant. Sir Samuel Baker anticipated him in relieving the
expedition, and this so angered Speke that he attempted to have Pethrick
deprived of his consular position. Pethrick died in 1882.

When Lieutenant Richard Francis Burton had completed his famous journey
through Hedjaz to the sacred city of Mecca, he called at the port of
Aden at the southwest extremity of Arabia. While there, he made friends
with the authorities, and persuaded them to allow him to penetrate
Africa through Somaliland, which is situated to the southwest of
Abyssinia. He hoped by an overland journey westbound to strike the Nile
at its headwaters. John H. Speke accompanied Burton on his journey, and
thus gained his first experience of African exploration. Unfortunately
this expedition was not a success, for the Somali were so suspicious
of the object of the travellers that they forced them to return to the

[Illustraton: 277.jpg THE MAIN STREAM OF THE NILE]

Once more, in 1856, the same party started farther south from Zanzibar.
Hearing of a great inland lake, they pressed forwards to make an
exploration, but were prevented by the Masai tribes. Burton was now laid
up with fever, and Speke formed a large party and crossed the Unyamivezi
and Usukuma. On July 30, 1858, they were fortunate enough to cross one
of the bays of the southern half of Lake Victoria Nyanza. They struck
northwards, and, on August 3rd, gained sight of the open waters of the
great lake. Speke did not realise the vast area of the lake at this
time, and put down its width at about one hundred miles. As he had
promised Burton to return at a certain pre-arranged date, he went back
to the coast. Burton, however, was unreasonable enough to be displeased
with Speke's discovery, and the two fell into strained relations. On
arriving at the coast, Speke at once went back to England, and there
raised funds to make a longer and more complete exploration. He was
naturally anxious to learn more about the great lake in the middle of
the continent, and, besides this, he thought that he could demonstrate
to the satisfaction of the scientific world that this vast basin of
water was the source of the White Nile. Captain James A. Grant asked
leave to accompany Speke, and became his efficient lieutenant. Grant was
a good shot, a matter of importance, for it was almost certain that
the party would have to confront the danger of being surrounded by wild
beasts and hostile natives. He was also a good geologist and painted
well in water-colours, and proved himself to be a capable lieutenant
to the leader of the party. The Indian government sent the expedition a
quantity of ammunition and surveying instruments.

The party started from Zanzibar for the interior in October, 1860. At
Usugara they were detained by the illness of Captain Grant and some of
the Hottentot retainers. A number of the instruments were now sent back
in order to lighten the burdens, and among other things was returned the
cumbrous photographic apparatus, which was the only kind in use in the
sixties. At Ugogo serious trouble arose with the native chiefs, who
demanded tolls from the party. Many of the remaining porters here
deserted, and others were frightened by the hostility of the local
tribes. When at length they reached the Unyamivezi most of the beasts of
burden had died, and half of the stores they had intended to bring with
them were found to have been stolen by the natives. The Arabs here told
Speke that there was another lake besides the Victoria, whose waters,
according to some, were reported to be salty.

Fierce internecine wars were now being waged between the tribes of the
locality, which made any thought of progress, so long as they lasted,
an impossibility. Speke, having successfully endeavoured to negotiate a
peace between the chief Mouwa and the Arabs of the region, resolved upon
the bold enterprise of pushing on without Grant and the supplies
towards Buzina, the nearest country ruled by Bahima chiefs. The venture,
however, was a fruitless one, and he bravely struggled to reach Usui.
In this he succeeded, remaining there till October, 1861, when he went
through the region of the Suwaroras, who demanded excessive tolls
for permission to pass through their territory. Proceeding into the
wilderness, they were met by envoys from Rumanika, a king whose court
they intended to visit, and who had heard in advance of their impending
journey. The messengers of the king received them well and brought them
to the court. Rumanika now desired them to remain at his capital until
he had sent word before them that the party intended to go to Uganda.
Grant, about this time, was laid up with an ulcerated leg; and, when the
time came for moving forward, Speke was obliged to set out for Uganda
alone, which place he entered on January 16, 1862. He became a close
friend of the royal family and the chief men, and his beard was a
constant source of admiration and conversation.

The illness of Grant prevented him from joining the party at Uganda till
the end of May, and on July 7th of the same year, after many delays,
they obtained leave from the king to leave Uganda. By July the 28th,
Speke had reached the Ripon Falls, where the Victoria Nyanza branch of
the Nile flows out of the great lake at the head of Napoleon Gulf. These
falls were called after the Marquis of Ripon, who was then the
president of the Royal Geographical Society. At this time, Grant, still
convalescent, was moving by a more direct route towards Ungaro. Speke
met him again on the way thither, and they finished their journey
together. After suffering vexatious impositions from the monarch,
Speke asked leave to go and visit a new lake which the natives called
Lutanzige, but was refused permission. He then sent Bombay, his servant
and interlocutor, along the course of the Nile towards the outposts
of Pethrick. The messenger returned with hopeful news that there was
a clear course open to them in that direction. The whole party then
journeyed down the Kafu River to the point where it enters the Nile.
On the way thither, they came to the Karuma Falls, and were obliged
to march across swampy ground. Finally they met a Sudanese black named
Mu-hammed Wad-el-Mek, who was dressed like an Egyptian and who spoke
Arabic. Muhammed first of all told them that he had come from Pethrick,
but it was later discovered that he was in the employment of Doctor
Bono, a trader from Malta. The Sudanese was not anxious that the
party should proceed, and told them stories about the impossibility of
ascending the river at that time, during the month of December. It was
difficult to dissuade Speke, however, and on January 12, 1863, he set
out for a place which is now called Affudu. There the party paused for
awhile in order to kill enough game to feed the native servants. On the
1st of February, having forced some of the natives into their service as
porters, they descended the Nile to its confluence with the Asua River.
They next crossed this river, and proceeded onwards to the Nile Rapids,
and from thence skirted the borders of the Bari country. On February 15,
1863, they made an entrance into Gondokoro, where the whole party was
filled with joy to meet Sir Samuel Baker, who had arrived there on the
way out to relieve them. They all advanced together to Khartum, after
which Speke and Grant returned to England, in the spring of 1863. Thus
was the task of the discovery of the sources of the Nile, which had
baffled the seekers for many centuries, at length completed. Speke was
received by the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII.), but the satisfaction
of being allowed to place an additional motto on his coat-of-arms was
the only recognition which he received for his services.

As a result of Speke's discoveries, the Victoria Nyanza took its place
on the maps of Africa, and a fair conception had been obtained of the
size and shape of Lake Albert Nyanza.

[Illustration: 283.jpg THE FERRY AT OLD CAIRO]

The whole course of the White Nile was also revealed with more or less
accuracy, and all the mysterious surmises as to the great flow of the
Nile from some unknown headwaters of enormous extent were now solved.
It was only necessary to fill in the details of the map in regard to
the great lakes and the rivers which flowed into them, and further to
investigate the extensive territory between the lakes and the Egyptian
settlements to the north. Sir Samuel Baker was the man who more than
any other helped to supply the details of the work already accomplished.
From Cairo he started on a journey up the course of the Nile. When he
had reached Berber, he chose the course of the At-bara, or Blue Nile,
the branch which receives the floods of water from the Abyssinian
table-lands. He travelled up the western frontier of Abyssinia,
proceeding as far as the river Rahad, a river flowing into the Blue Nile
from the Egyptian side. From this point Baker turned backwards towards
Khartum, which he reached in June, 1862, where he made a stay of some
duration. He now made up his mind to search for Speke, and went up the
White Nile as far as Gondokoro, where the meeting with Speke took place.
Baker left this place March 26, 1863, but met with almost insuperable
obstacles in trying to make further advance. The porters deserted, the
camels died, and the ammunition and the presents intended to ease the
way through the territory of native princes had to be all abandoned.
Thus disencumbered, his party ascended the White Nile until they reached
the Victoria affluent. The Bauyno tribes now prevented his intended
advance to the Albert Nyanza. Baker, however, had the good fortune to be
well received by the chieftain Kamurasi, and, as he was at this moment
suffering from a severe attack of fever, the friendliness of this
Central African chieftain was probably the means of saving his life. The
king graciously received Baker's present of a double-barrelled gun, and
then sent him onward with two guides and three hundred men. The party
now managed to push their way to the shores of the Albert Nyanza. They
first arrived at a place called Mbakovia, situated near the south-east
coast, and on March 16, 1864, they saw for the first time the great lake
itself, which they now named the Albert Nyanza. After a short stay at
Mbakovia, they proceeded along the coast of the lake until they reached
Magungo, where the Victoria branch of the Nile flows into the Albert
Nyanza. Continuing the journey up the source of the Victoria Nile, they
discovered the Murchison Falls. When they set out for the Karuma Falls
the porters deserted, and after many desperate adventures they at length
returned to Khartum in May, 1865. Baker then went on to Berber, and
crossed the desert to Suakin on the Red Sea. He returned to England
late in the year 1865, and was received with honour and decorated by the
queen with a well-earned knighthood.

In the year 1869 Baker entered the service of the Egyptian government,
and was commissioned by the viceroy to subdue the regions of Equatorial
Africa, and annex them to the Egyptian Empire. To succeed in this
enterprise he waged many a war with African tribes like the Boni. On
several occasions these conflicts had been forced upon him; on
other occasions Baker Pasha was the aggressor, owing to his fixed
determination to extend on all sides the limits of the Egyptian Sudan.
With all the rulers, however, who treated him well, he remained on terms
of loyalty and friendship; and, in time, he inspired them with respect
for his fairness and liberality. Baker Pasha scattered the slave-traders
on all sides, and, for the time being, effectually broke up their power.
The slave-traders of the Sudan were of Arab nationality, and were in
the habit of advancing farther, year by year, upon the villages of the
defenceless Africans, and spreading their ravages into the heart of
Africa. They always attacked the less warlike tribes, and, upon breaking
into a negro settlement, would carry off the whole population, except
the aged or sick. The slaves were herded together in vast numbers by
help of logs of wood sawn in two, with holes cut large enough to enclose
the neck of a slave, and the two sides of the log afterwards securely
fastened again, thereby yoking together a row of these unfortunate
beings. Every year, out of five hundred thousand or more slaves, at
least half the number perished.. The markets for the slaves were the
cities of the Muhammedans all through North Africa, Syria, Turkey, and
Persia. The death-dealing hardships to the slaves were for the most part
endured on the long journey to Cairo, or, when the trade was suppressed
there, to points north of the Sudan, such as Tripoli, or certain ports
on the Red Sea. Those who were hardy enough to reach the slave-markets
were usually well treated by their Muhammedan masters. During the time
of Baker Pasha's administration, while he was pursuing the slave-traders
and establishing Egyptian outposts, the whole course of the Nile from
the Great Lakes became well known to the civilised world, though after
this period Baker Pasha did not make any further voyages of discovery
into unknown parts.

During the years of 1859 and 1860, an adventurous Dutch lady of fortune,
Miss Alexandrine Tinné, journeyed up the Nile as far as Gondokoro, and
in 1861 she commenced to organise a daring expedition to find the source
of the Bahr-el-Ghazel, and explore the territory between the Nile basin
and Lake Chad. She started from Khartum, and ascended the Bahr-el-Ghazel
as far as the affluent Bahr-el-Hamad. She then crossed overland as far
as the Jur and Kosango Rivers, and reached the mountains on the outlying
districts of the Nyam-Nyam country. Here the members of the expedition
suffered from black-water fever, and only with the greatest difficulty
were they able to return to Khartum, where they arrived in July, 1864.
In 1868 Miss Tinné, nothing-daunted, started for Lake Chad from Tripoli,
with the intention of closing in upon the Nile from the eastern sources
of the affluents of the Bahr-el-Ghazel. On reaching Wadi-Aberjong,
however, this brave-hearted woman was waylaid by the fierce Tuaregs, and
was beheaded August 1, 1868.

In the sixties, Georg Schweinfurth, a native of Riga, in the Baltic
provinces of Russia, set out to explore Nubia, Upper Egypt, and
Abyssinia for botanical purposes. Subsequently the Royal Academy of
Science in Berlin equipped him for an expedition to explore the region
of the Bahr-el-Ghazel. He entered the Sudan by Suakin on the Red Sea,
and crossed the desert to Berber, reaching Khartum on November 1, 1868.
The following January he set out along the course of the White Nile,
passed Getina, and examined the vegetation (sudd) which had drifted
down from all the affluents of the White Nile. He prolonged his stay
for three years on the Bahr-el-Ghazel, solely absorbed in scientific
studies, and, unlike his predecessors, he was unconcerned with reforms
and attempts to suppress the slave-trade.

Schweinfurth penetrated so far into the heart of Africa that he reached
the Congo basin and explored the upper waters of the Welle River, and on
his return to Europe he published a work, in 1873, called "The Heart
of Africa." In this book he tried to demonstrate that the area of the
Victoria Nyanza was taken up by a chain of five lakes.

About this time, in the same year, the famous Henry Morton Stanley
returned to London from his adventurous discovery and relief of Dr.
David Livingstone. The distinguished missionary and explorer died not
long afterwards, and the fame of his brilliant discoveries and heroic
life aroused great sympathy and interest in African exploration. The
great river which Livingstone had explored was believed by him to have
been the Nile, but was more correctly thought by others to have been the
Congo River. On account of the interest aroused in Livingstone, the _New
York Herald_ and the _Daily Telegraph_ of London decided to send Stanley
on a fully equipped expedition to solve the many problems relating to
the heart of Africa about which the civilised world was still in the

Stanley chose the route of Zanzibar, and, landing there, he went up the
course of the river and crossed the country to the Victoria Nyanza by
the way of Unyamwezi. He reached the lake by the end of February,
1875. On March the 8th he set out to explore the shores of the lake, and
mapped the whole region, including its bays, islands, and archipelagoes,
with a considerable amount of accuracy. He also examined Napoleon Gulf,
and reached as far as Ripon Falls, at which point the waters of the lake
flow towards the Albert Nyanza. He then verified the accuracy of Speke's
supposition that the Victoria Nyanza really was the main source of the
White Nile. Stanley set out from Uganda at the end of the year 1875,
and travelled across the country to the Congo. About the same time
three English surveyors, Colonels Purdy, Colston, and Sidney Enser,
made several topographical reports on much of the territory between
the Bahr-el-Ghazel, the Shari, and the Nile. Later on, in 1876, General
Gordon sent Romolo Gesei, an Italian in the service of the khédive,
to navigate and to explore Lake Albert Nyanza. In the following year
Colonel Mason, an American, surveyed the lake, of which he made an
accurate topographical chart.

In the year 1880, Mr. E. G. Ravenstein, an eminent geographer, made some
valuable surveys of eastern equatorial Africa, which had the effect
of inciting the Royal Geographical Society to send out, in 1882, an
expedition under Joseph Thomson, a brilliant young African explorer, in
order to find out a direct route to the Victoria Nyanza. Thomson set out
from Momhasa early in the year 1883, but he never succeeded in realising
the purpose of his mission.

Emin Pasha, as we have seen, was the governor appointed by the khédive
to rule the Egyptian equatorial provinces. He made a few discoveries,
such as the Semliki River, which was called by him Divern. Whilst he
was engaged in travelling through the Bahr-el-Ghazel district, the
revolt of the Mahdi occurred, and Emin Pasha was isolated from the outer
world. In the year 1886 Doctor Junker returned to Europe from Emin, and
roused great interest by his account of the adventures of the pasha,
whom most people had believed to have died, but whom they now learned
had set up an independent sovereignty in the heart of Africa, awaiting
anxiously the advent of a relief expedition. Then Henry M. Stanley
volunteered to go out on a relief expedition to bring Emin Pasha home.

Stanley avoided the route through the German colony on the East, and
started upon his ever memorable relief expedition by the Congo
route. The veteran adventurer succeeded in relieving Emin Pasha, and,
furthermore, he discovered the Mountains of the Moon, called by the
natives Ruwenjori, on May 24, 1888. He also traced to its sources
the Semliki River, and explored Lake Albert Edward and a gulf of the
Victoria to the south-west. The remainder of this famous journey,
for the success of which he was knighted as Sir Henry M. Stanley, was
outside the basin of the Nile, and is recorded in his book, "Through
Darkest Africa."

In 1900, Dr. Donaldson Smith, an American, made an important journey
through the countries between the north end of Lake Rudolf and the
Mountain Nile.



     *The early portion of this chapter is selected, by kind
     permission of Dr. Henry Smith Williams, from his "History
     of the Art of Writing," Copyright, 1902 and 1903.

_The Rosetta Stone: The Discoveries of Dr. Thomas Young: The
Classification of the Egyptian Alphabet by Champollion: Egyptian
Love-songs and the Book of the Dead_

Conspicuously placed in the great hall of Egyptian antiquities, in the
British Museum, is a wonderful piece of sculpture known as the Rosetta
Stone. A glance at its graven surface suffices to show that three sets
of inscriptions are recorded there. The upper one, occupying about
one-fourth of the surface, is a pictured scroll, made up of chains of
those strange outlines of serpents, hawks, lions, and so on, which are
recognised, even by the least initiated, as hieroglyphics. The middle
inscription, made up of lines, angles, and half-pictures, one might
suppose to be a sort of abbreviated or shorthand hieroglyphic. The
third, or lower, inscription, is manifestly Greek, obviously a thing of
words. If the screeds above be also made of words, only the elect have
any way of proving the fact.

Fortunately, however, even the least scholarly observer is left in
no doubt as to the real import of the thing he sees, for an obliging
English label tells us that these three inscriptions are renderings of
the same message, and that this message is a "decree of the Priests
of Memphis conferring divine honours on Ptolemy V., Epiphanes, King
of Egypt, B.C. 195." The label goes on to state that the upper
transcription (of which, unfortunately, only parts of the last dozen
lines or so remain, the slab being broken) is in "the Egyptian language,
in hieroglyphics, or writing of the priests"; the second inscription in
the same language, "in demotic, or the writing of the people"; and the
third "in the Greek language and character."

Then comes a brief biography of the Rosetta Stone itself, as follows:
"This stone was found by the French in 1798 among the ruins of Fort St.
Julian, near the Rosetta mouth of the Nile. It passed into the hands
of the British by the treaty of Alexandria, and was deposited in the
British Museum in the year 1801." There is a whole volume of history
in that brief inscription, and a bitter sting thrown in, if the reader
chance to be a Frenchman. Yet the facts involved could scarcely be
suggested more modestly. They are recorded much more bluntly in a graven
inscription on the side of the stone, which runs: "Captured in Egypt by
the British Army, 1801." No Frenchman could read those words without a
sinking of the heart.

The value of the Rosetta Stone depended on the fact that it gave
promise, even when originally inspected, of furnishing a key to the
centuries-old mystery of the hieroglyphics. For two thousand years the
secret of these strange markings had been forgotten. Nowhere in the
world--quite as little in Egypt as elsewhere--had any man the slightest
clue to their meaning; there were even those who doubted whether these
droll picturings really had any specific meaning, questioning whether
they were not merely vague symbols of esoteric religious import and
nothing more. And it was the Rosetta Stone that gave the answer to these
doubters, and restored to the world a lost language and a forgotten

The trustees of the British Museum recognised that the problem of the
Rosetta Stone was one on which the scientists of the world might
well exhaust their ingenuity, and they promptly published a carefully
lithographed copy of the entire inscription, so that foreign scholarship
had equal opportunity with British to try to solve the riddle. How
difficult a riddle it was, even with this key in hand, is illustrated by
the fact that, though scholars of all nations brought their ingenuity
to bear upon it, nothing more was accomplished for a dozen years than
to give authority to three or four guesses regarding the nature of the
upper inscriptions, which, as it afterwards proved, were quite incorrect
and altogether misleading. This in itself is sufficient to show that
ordinary scholarship might have studied the Rosetta Stone till the end
of time without getting far on the track of its secrets. The key was
there, but to apply it required the inspired insight--that is to say,
the shrewd guessing power--of genius.

The man who undertook the task had perhaps the keenest scientific
imagination and the most versatile profundity of knowledge of his
generation--one is tempted to say, of any generation. For he was none
other than the extraordinary Dr. Thomas Young, the demonstrator of the
vibratory nature of light.

Young had his attention called to the Rosetta Stone by accident, and
his usual rapacity for knowledge at once led him to speculate as to the
possible aid this tri-lingual inscription might give in the solution of
Egyptian problems. Resolving at once to attempt the solution himself, he
set to work to learn Koptic, which was rightly believed to represent the
nearest existing approach to the ancient Egyptian language. His amazing
facility in the acquisition of languages stood him in such good stead
that within a year of his first efforts he had mastered Koptic and
assured himself that the ancient Egyptian language was really similar
to it, and had even made a tentative attempt at the translation of the
Egyptian scroll. His results were only tentative, to be sure, yet they
constituted the very beginnings of our knowledge regarding the meaning
of hieroglyphics. Just how far they carried has been a subject of ardent
controversy ever since. Not that there is any doubt about the specific
facts; what is questioned is the exact importance of these facts. For
it is undeniable that Young did not complete and perfect the discovery,
and, as always in such matters, there is opportunity for difference of
opinion as to the share of credit due to each of the workers who entered
into the discovery.

Young's specific discoveries were these: (1) that many of the pictures
of the hieroglyphics stand for the names of the objects actually
delineated; (2) that other pictures are sometimes only symbolic; (3)
that plural numbers are represented by repetition; (4) that numerals are
represented by dashes; (5) that hieroglyphics may read either from
the right or from the left, but always from the direction in which the
animals and human figures face; (6) that proper names are surrounded
by a graven oval ring, making what he called a cartouche; (7) that the
cartouches of the preserved portion of the Rosetta Stone stand for the
name of Ptolemy alone; (8) that the presence of a female figure after
such cartouches, in other inscriptions, always denotes the female
sex; (9) that within the cartouches the hieroglyphic symbols have a
positively phonetic value, either alphabetic or syllabic; and (10) that
several different characters may have the same phonetic value.

Just what these phonetic values are, Doctor Young pointed out in the
case of fourteen characters, representing nine sounds, six of which
are accepted to-day as correctly representing the letters to which he
ascribed them, and the three others as being correct regarding their
essential or consonantal element. It is clear, therefore, that he was on
the right track thus far, and on the very verge of complete discovery.
But, unfortunately, he failed to take the next step, which would have
been to realise that the same phonetic values given the alphabetic
characters within the cartouches were often ascribed to them also when
used in the general text of an inscription; in other words, that the
use of an alphabet was not confined to proper names. This was the great
secret which Young missed, but which his French successor, Jean François
Champollion, working on the foundation that Young had laid, was enabled
to ferret out.

[Illustration: 296.jpg JEAN FRANCOIS CHAMPOLLION]

Young's initial studies of the Rosetta Stone were made in 1814; his
later publications bore date of 1819. Champollion's first announcement
of results came in 1822; his second and more important one in 1824. By
this time, through study of the cartouches of other inscriptions, he had
made out almost the complete alphabet, and the "Riddle of the Sphinx"
was practically solved. He proved that the Egyptians had developed a
relatively complete alphabet (mostly neglecting the vowels, as early
Semitic alphabets did also) centuries before the Phoenicians were heard
of in history.

Even this statement, however, must in a measure be modified. These
pictures are letters and something more. Some of them are purely
alphabetical in character, and some are symbolic in another way.
Some characters represent syllables. Others stand sometimes as mere
representatives of sounds, and again, in a more extended sense, as
representatives of things, such as all hieroglyphics doubtless were
in the beginning. In a word, this is an alphabet, but not a perfected
alphabet such as modern nations generally use.

The word "hieroglyphic" is applied, as we have seen, to various forms of
picture writing; but the original interpretation which the Greeks, who
invented it, put upon the word was the "holy writing" of the Egyptians.
The earliest Greek travellers who went to Egypt, when that country was
finally opened up to the outside world, must have noticed the strange
picture scrolls everywhere to be seen there on the temple walls, on
obelisks, on statues, and mummy-cases, as well as on papyrus rolls,
which were obviously intended to serve the purpose of handing down
records of events to future generations.

It is now known that this writing of the Egyptians was of a most
extraordinary compound character. Part of its pictures are used as
direct representations of the objects presented. Here are some examples:

[Illustration: 298.jpg PAGE IMAGE]

Again the picture of an object becomes an ideograph, as in the following

Here the sacred ibis or the sacred bull symbolises the soul. The bee
stands for honey, the eyes for the verb "to see." Yet again these
pictures may stand neither as pictures of things nor as ideographs, but
as having the phonetic value of a syllable. Such syllabic signs may be
used either singly, as above, or in combination, as illustrated below.

But one other stage of evolution is possible, namely, the use of signs
with a purely alphabetical significance. The Egyptians made this
step also, and their strangely conglomerate writing makes use of the
following alphabet:

[Illustration: 299.jpg PAGE IMAGE]

In a word, then, the Egyptian writing has passed through all the stages
of development, from the purely pictorial to the alphabetical, but with
this strange qualification,--that while advancing to the later stages it
retains the use of crude earlier forms. As Canon Taylor has graphically
phrased it, the Egyptian writing is a completed structure, but one from
which the scaffolding has not been removed.

The next step would have been to remove the now useless scaffolding,
leaving a purely alphabetical writing as the completed structure.
Looking at the matter from the modern standpoint, it seems almost
incredible that so intelligent a people as the Egyptians should have
failed to make this advance. Yet the facts stand, that as early as
the time of the Pyramid Builders, say four thousand years B.C.,* the
Egyptians had made the wonderful analysis of sounds, without which the
invention of an alphabet would be impossible.

     * The latest word on the subject of the origin of the
     alphabet takes back some of the primitive phonetic signs to
     prehistoric times. Among these prehistoric signs are the
     letters A, E, I, O, U, (V), F and M.

They had set aside certain of their hieroglyphic symbols and given them
alphabetical significance. They had learned to write their words with
the use of this alphabet; and it would seem as if, in the course of a
few generations, they must come to see how unnecessary was the cruder
form of picture-writing which this alphabet would naturally supplant;
but, in point of fact, they never did come to a realisation of this
seemingly simple proposition. Generation after generation and century
after century, they continued to use their same cumbersome, complex
writing, and it remained for an outside nation to prove that an alphabet
pure and simple was capable of fulfilling all the conditions of a
written language.

Thus in practice there are found in the hieroglyphics the strangest
combinations of ideographs, syllabic signs, and alphabetical signs or
true letters used together indiscriminately.

It was, for example, not at all unusual, after spelling a word
syllabically or alphabetically, to introduce a figure giving the idea
of the thing intended, and then even to supplement this with a so-called
determinative sign or figure:

[Illustration: 301.jpg DETERMINATIVE SIGNS]

Here Queften, monkey, is spelled out in full, but the picture of a
monkey is added as a determinative; second, Qenu, cavalry, after being
spelled, is made unequivocal by the introduction of a picture of a
horse; third, Temati, wings, though spelled elaborately, has pictures
of wings added; and fourth, Tatu, quadrupeds, after being spelled, has
a picture of a quadruped, and then the picture of a hide, which is the
usual determinative of a quadruped, followed by three dashes to indicate
the plural number.*

     * Another illustration of the plural number is seen in the
     sign Pau, on page 298, where the plural is indicated in the
     same manner.

These determinatives are in themselves so interesting, as illustrations
of the association of ideas, that it is worth while to add a few more
examples. The word Pet, which signifies heaven, and which has also the
meaning up or even, is represented primarily by what may be supposed
to be a conventionalised picture of the covering to the earth. But
this picture, used as a determinative, is curiously modified in the
expression of other ideas, as it symbolises evening when a closed flower
is added, and night when a star hangs in the sky, and rain or tempest
when a series of zigzag lines, which by themselves represent water, are

[Illustration: 302a.jpg HIEROGLYPHICS]

As aids to memory such pictures are obviously of advantage, but this
advantage in the modern view is outweighed by the cumbrousness of the
system of writing as a whole.

Why was such a complex system retained? Chiefly, no doubt, because the
Egyptians, like all other highly developed peoples, were conservatives.
They held to their old method after a better one had been invented. But
this inherent conservatism was enormously aided, no doubt, by the fact
that the Egyptian language, like the Chinese, has many words that have
a varied significance, making it seem necessary, or at least highly
desirable, either to spell such words with different signs, or, having
spelled them in the same way, to introduce the varied determinatives.

Here are some examples of discrimination between words of the same sound
by the use of different signs:

[Illustration: 302b.jpg HIEROGLYPHICS]

Here, it will be observed, exactly the same expedient is adopted which
we still retain when we discriminate between words of the same sound by
different spelling, as to, two, too; whole, hole; through, threw, etc.

But the more usual Egyptian method was to resort to the determinatives;
the result seems to us most extraordinary. After what has been said, the
following examples will explain themselves:

[Illustration: 303.jpg HIEROGLYPHICS]

It goes without saying that the great mass of people in Egypt were never
able to write at all. Had they been accustomed to do so, the Egyptians
would have been a nation of artists. Even as the case stands, a
remarkable number of men must have had their artistic sense well
developed, for the birds, animals, and human figures constantly
presented on their hieroglyphic scrolls are drawn with a fidelity which
the average European of to-day would certainly find far beyond his

Until Professor Petrie* published his "Medum," and Professor Erman
his "Grammar," no important work on Egyptian hieroglyphic writing had
appeared in recent years.

     * The information as to the modern investigation in
     hieroglyphics has been obtained from F. L. Griffith's paper
     in the 6th Memoir of the Archaeological Survey on
     Hieroglyphics from the collections of the Egypt Exploration
     Fund, London, 1894-95.

Professor Petrie's "Medum" is the mainstay of the student in regard to
examples of form for the old kingdom; but for all periods detailed and
trustworthy drawings and photographs are found among the enormous mass
of published texts.*

     *To these may now be added the 105 coloured signs in Beni
     Hasan, Part III., and still more numerous examples in the
     Memoir of the Egypt Exploration Fund (Archaeological
     Survey), for the season 1895-96.

There is an important collection of facsimiles at University College,
London, made for Professor Petrie by Miss Paget. A large proportion of
these are copied from the collections from Beni Hasan and El Bersheh;
others are from coffins of later periods, and have only paleographical
interest; and others are from earlier coffins in the British Museum.
But the flower of the collection consists in exquisite drawings of
sculptured hieroglyphics, sometimes with traces of colour, from the tomb
of Phtahhotep at Saqqâra, supplemented by a few from other tombs in
the same neighbourhood, and from the pyramid of Papi I. These were all
copied on the spot in 1895--96.

The only critical list of hieroglyphics with their powers published
recently is that of Erman, printed in his "Grammar." The system by
which he classifies the values--obscured in the English edition by
the substitution of the term of "ideograph" for _Wortzeichen_
(word-sign)--displays the author's keen insight into the nature of
hieroglyphic writing, and the list itself is highly suggestive.

In the case of an altogether different system of ancient writing
that has come down to us,--the old cuneiform syllabary of the
Assyrians,--dictionaries, glossaries, and other works of a grammatical
character have been preserved to the present day. Documents such as
these are, of course, of material aid in regard to obscure texts, but in
the case of the Egyptian writing the only surviving native word-list
is the Sign Papyrus of Tanis,* which is, unfortunately, of the Roman
Period, when the original meanings of the signs had been well-nigh

     * Egypt Exploration Fund, Ninth Memoir, 1889-1890. This is
     an extra volume, now out of print.

It has its own peculiar interest, but seldom furnishes the smallest hint
to the seeker after origins. The famous "Hieroglyphics of Horapollo"
occasionally contains a reminiscence of true hieroglyphics, but may
well be a composition of the Middle Ages, embodying a tiny modicum of
half-genuine tradition that had survived until then.

Scattered throughout Egyptological literature there are, as may
be imagined, many attempts at explaining individual signs. But any
endeavour to treat Egyptian hieroglyphics critically, to ascertain
their origins, the history of their use, the original distinction or the
relationship of signs that resemble each other, reveals how little is
really known about them. For study, good examples showing detail and
colouring at different periods are needed, and the evidence furnished
by form and colour must be checked by examination of their powers in

In investigating the powers of the uses of the signs, dictionaries give
most important aid to the student. The key-words of the meanings, viz.,
the names of the objects or actions depicted, are often exceedingly rare
in the texts. Doctor Brugsch's great Dictionary (1867-82) frequently
settles with close accuracy the meanings of the words considered in it,
supplying by quotations the proof of his conclusions.*

     * There has been in preparation since 1897 an exhaustive
     dictionary, to be published under the auspices of the German
     government. The academies of Berlin, Gottingen, Leipsig and
     Munich have charge of the work, and they have nominated as
     their respective commissioners Professors Erman, Pietsch-
     mann, Steindorff, and Ebers (since deceased). This colossal
     undertaking is the fitting culmination of the labours of a
     century in the Egyptian language and writing. The collection
     and arrangement of material are estimated to occupy eleven
     years; printing may thus be begun about 1908.

     Despite its uncritical method of compilation, Levy's bulky
     Vocabulary (1887-1804), with its two supplements and long
     tables of signs, is indispensable in this branch of
     research, since it gives a multitude of references to rare
     words and forms of words that occur in notable publications
     of recent date, such as Maspero's excellent edition of the
     Pyramid Texts. There are also some important special
     indices, such as Stern's excellent "Glossary of the Papyrus
     Ebers," Piehl's "Vocabulary of the Harris Papyrus," Erman's
     "Glossary of the Westcar Papyrus," and Doctor Pudge's
     "Vocabulary" of the XVIIIth Dynasty "Book of the Dead."
     Schack's Index to the Pyramid Texts will prove to be an
     important work, and the synoptic index of parallel chapters
     prefixed to the work is of the greatest value in the search
     for variant spellings.

In 1872, Brugsch, in his "Grammaire Hiéroglyphique," published a useful
list of signs with their phonetic and ideographic values, accompanying
them with references to his Dictionary, and distinguishing some of the
specially early and late forms. We may also note the careful list in
Lepsius' "Ægyptische Lesestucke," 1883.

Champollion in his "Grammaire Egyptienne," issued after the author's
death in 1836, gave descriptive names to large numbers of the signs.
In 1848, to the first volume of Bunsen's "Egypt's Place in Universal
History," Birch contributed a long list of hieroglyphics, with
descriptions and statements of their separate phonetic and ideographic
values. De Rougé, in his "Catalogue des signes hiéroglyphiques de
l'imprimerie nationale," 1851, attached to each of many hundreds of
signs and varieties of signs a short description, often very correct.
He again dealt with the subject in 1867, and published a "Catalogue
Raisonné" of the more usual signs in the first _livraison_ of his
"Chrestomathie Egyptienne." Useful to the student as these first lists
were, in the early stages of decipherment, they are now of little
value. For, at the time they were made, the fine early forms were mostly
unstudied, and the signs were taken without discrimination from texts
of all periods; moreover, the outlines of the signs were inaccurately
rendered, their colours unnoted, and their phonetic and ideographic
powers very imperfectly determined. Thus, whenever doubt was possible
as to the object represented by a sign, little external help was
forthcoming for correct identification. To a present-day student of the
subject, the scholarly understanding of De Rougé and the ingenuity of
Birch are apparent, but the aid which they afford him is small.

As a result of recent discoveries, some very interesting researches have
been made in Egyptian paleography in what is known as the _signary_.*
We reach signs which seem to be disconnected from the known hieroglyphs,
and we are probably touching on the system of geometrical signs used
from prehistoric to Roman times in Egypt, and also in other countries
around the Mediterranean.

     * The information regarding the alphabet here given is
     derived from the Eighteenth Memoir of the Egypt Exploration
     Fund, 1899-1890.

How far these signs are originally due to geometrical invention, or how
far due to corruption of some picture, we cannot say. But in any case
they stood so detached from the hieroglyphic writing and its hieratic
and demotic derivations, that they must be treated as a separate system.
For the present the best course is to show here the similarity of forms
between these marks and those known in Egypt in earlier and later times,
adding the similar forms in the Karian and Spanish alphabets. The usage
of such forms in the same country from about 6000 B.C. down to 1200
B.C., or later, shows that we have to deal with a definite system. And
it seems impossible to separate that used in 1200 B.C. in Egypt from the
similar forms found in other lands connected with Egypt from 800 B.C.
down to later times: we may find many of these also in the Kretan
inscriptions long before 800 B.C. The only conclusion then seems to
be that a great body of signs--or a _signary_--was in use around the
Mediterranean for several thousand years. Whether these signs were
ideographic or syllabic or alphabetic in the early stages we do not
know; certainly they were alphabetic in the later stage. And the
identity of most of the signs in Asia Minor and Spain shows them to
belong to a system with commonly received values in the later times.

What then becomes of the Phoenician legend of the alphabet? Certainly
the so-called Phoenician letters were familiar long before the rise of
Phoenician influence. What is really due to the Phoenicians seems to
have been the selection of a short series (only half the amount of the
surviving alphabets) for numerical purposes, as A = 1, E = 5, I = 10, N
= 50, P = 100.

[Illustration: 309.jpg TABLE OF COMPARATIVE SYMBOLS]

This usage would soon render these signs as invariable in order as our
own numbers, and force the use of them on all countries with which the
Phoenicians traded. Hence, before long these signs drove out of use
all others, except in the less changed civilisations of Asia Minor and
Spain. According to our modern authorities this exactly explains the
phenomena of the early Greek alphabets; many in variety, and so diverse
that each has to be learned separately, and yet entirely uniform in
order. Each tribe had its own signs for certain sounds, varying a good
deal; yet all had to follow a fixed numerical system. Certainly all did
not learn their forms from an independent Phoenician alphabet, unknown
to them before it was selected.

The work of Young and Champollion, says Doctor Williams,* gives a new
interest to the mass of records, in the form of graven inscriptions, and
papyrus rolls, and cases and wrappings, which abound in Egypt, but which
hitherto had served no better purpose for centuries than to excite,
without satisfying, the curiosity of the traveller.

     * History of the Art of Writing, Portfolio I., plate 8.

Now these strange records, so long enigmatic, could be read, and within
the past fifty years a vast literature of translations of these Egyptian
records has been given to the world. It was early discovered that the
hieroglyphic character was not reserved solely for sacred inscriptions,
as the Greeks had supposed in naming it; indeed, the inscription of the
Rosetta Stone sufficiently dispelled that illusion. But no one, perhaps,
was prepared for the revelations that were soon made as to the extent of
range of these various inscriptions, and the strictly literary character
of some of them.

A large proportion of these inscriptions are, to be sure, religious in
character, but there are other extensive inscriptions, such as those on
the walls of the temple of Karnak, that are strictly historical; telling
of the warlike deeds of such mighty kings as Thûtmosis III. and
Ramses II. Again, there are documents which belong to the domain of
belles-lettres pure and simple. Of these the best known example is the
now famous "Tale of Two Brothers"--the prototype of the "modern" short

Up to the middle of the nineteenth century, no Egyptologist had
discovered that the grave-faced personages who lie in their mummy-cases
in our great museums ever read or composed romance. Their literature,
as far as recovered, was of an eminently serious nature,--hymns to the
divinities, epic poems, writings on magic and science, business letters,
etc., but no stories. In 1852, however, an Englishwoman, Mrs. Elizabeth
d'Orbiney, sent M. de Rougé, at Paris, a papyrus she had purchased in
Italy, and whose contents she was anxious to know. Thus was the tale of
the "Two Brothers" brought to light, and for twelve years it remained
our sole specimen of a species of literature which is now constantly
being added to.

This remarkable papyrus dates from the thirteenth century B.C., and was
the work of Anna, one of the most distinguished temple-scribes of his
age. Indeed, it is to him that we are indebted for a large portion of
the Egyptian literature that has been preserved to us. This particular
work was executed for Seti II., son of Meneptah, and grandson of Ramses
II. of the nineteenth dynasty, while he was yet crown prince.

The tale itself is clearly formed of two parts. The first, up to the
Bata's self-exile to the Valley of the Cedar, gives a really excellent
picture of the life and habits of the peasant dwelling on the banks
of the Nile. The civilisation and moral conditions it describes are
distinctly Egyptian. Were it not for such details as the words spoken by
the cows, and the miraculous appearance of the body of water between the
two brothers, we might say the ancient Egyptians were strict realists
in their theory of fiction. But the second part leads us through marvels
enough to satisfy the most vivid of imaginations. It is possible,
therefore, that the tale as we have it was originally two separate

The main theme of the story has occupied a great deal of attention. Its
analogy to the Biblical narrative of Joseph and Potiphar's wife comes at
once into the reader's mind. But there is just as close a similarity
in the Greek tales, where the hero is killed or his life endangered
for having scorned the guilty love of a woman, as in the stories of
Hippolytus, Peleus, Bellerophon, and the son of Glaucus, not to
mention the extraordinary adventure of Amgiad and Assad, sons of Prince
Kamaralzaman, in the _Thousand and One Nights_.

The religions of Greece and Western Asia likewise contain myths that can
be compared almost point for point with the tale of the two brothers.
In Phrygia, for example, Atyo scorns the love of the goddess Cybele,
as does Bata the love of Anpu's wife. Like Bata, again, he mutilates
himself, and is transformed into a pine instead of a persea tree.
Are we, therefore, to seek for the common origin of all the myths and
romance in the tragedy of Anpu and Bata that was current, we know not
how long, before the days of King Seti?

Of one thing we may be sure: of this particular type the Egyptian tale
is by far the oldest that we possess, and, if we may not look to the
valley of the Nile as the original home of the popular tale, we may
justly regard it as the locality where it was earliest naturalised and
assumed a true literary form.

Analogies to the second part of the tale are even more numerous and
curious. They are to be found everywhere, in France, Italy, Germany,
Hungary, in Russia and all Slavonic countries, Roumania, Peloponnesia,
in Asia Minor, Abyssinia, and even India.

Of late years an ever-increasing accumulation of the literature of every
age of Egyptian history has either been brought to light or for
the first time studied from a wider point of view than was formerly
possible. In making a few typical selections from the mass of this
new material, none perhaps are more worthy of note than some of the
love-songs which have been translated into German from Egyptian in
"Die Liebespoesie der Alten Ægypten," by W. Max Muller. This is a very
careful edition of the love-songs on the recto (or upper surface) of the
Harris Papyrus 500, and of similar lyrics from Turin, Gizeh, and Paris.
The introduction contains an account of Egyptian notions of love and
marriage, gathered from hieroglyphic and demotic sources, and a chapter
is devoted to the forms of Egyptian verse, its rhythm and accent. The
interesting "Song of the Harper," which is found on the same Harris
Papyrus, is also fully edited and collated with the parallel texts from
the Theban tombs, and compared with other writings dealing with death
from the agnostic point of view. The following extracts are translated
from the German:


     I will lie down within doors
     For I am sick with wrongs. T
     hen my neighbours come in to visit me.
     With them cometh my sister,
     She will make fun of the physicians;
     She knoweth mine illness.


     The villa of my sister!--
     Her gates (are) in the midst of the domain--
     (So oft as) its portals open,
     (So oft as) the bolt is withdrawn,
     Then is my sister angry:
     O were I but set as the gatekeeper!
     I should cause her to chide me;
     (Then) I should hear her voice in anger,
     A child in fear before her!


     The voice of the wild goose crieth,
     (For) she hath taken her bait;
     (But) thy love restraineth me,
     I cannot free her (from the snare);
     (So) must I take (home) my net.
     What (shall I say) to my mother,
     To whom (I am wont) to come daily
     Laden with wild fowl?
     I lay not my snare to-day
     (For) thy love hath taken hold upon me.

The most ardent interest that has been manifested in the Egyptian
records had its origin in the desire to find evidence corroborative of
the Hebrew accounts of the Egyptian captivity of the Jewish people.* The
Egyptian word-treasury being at last unlocked, it was hoped that
much new light would be thrown on Hebrew history. But the hope proved
illusive. After ardent researches of hosts of fervid seekers for half
a century, scarcely a word of reference to the Hebrews has been found
among the Egyptian records.

     * The only inscription relating directly to the Israelites
     will be found described in Chapter VII.

If depicted at all, the Hebrew captives are simply grouped with other
subordinate peoples, not even considered worthy of the dignity of names.
Nor is this strange when one reflects on the subordinate position which
the Hebrews held in the ancient world. In historical as in other matter,
much depends upon the point of view, and a series of events that seemed
all-important from the Hebrew standpoint might very well be thought too
insignificant for record from the point of view of a great nation like
the Egyptians. But the all-powerful pen wrought a conquest for the
Hebrews in succeeding generations that their swords never achieved, and,
thanks to their literature, succeeding generations have cast historical
perspective to the winds in viewing them. Indeed, such are the strange
mutations of time that, had any scribe of ancient Egypt seen fit to
scrawl a dozen words about the despised Israelite captives, and had
this monument been preserved, it would have outweighed in value, in
the opinion of nineteenth-century Europe, all the historical records
of Thûtmosis, Ramses, and their kin that have come down to us. But
seemingly no scribe ever thought it worth his while to make such an

It has just been noted that the hieroglyphic inscriptions are by no
means restricted to sacred subjects. Nevertheless, the most widely known
book of the Egyptians was, as might be expected, one associated with
the funeral rites that played so large a part in the thoughts of the
dwellers by the Nile. This is the document known as "The Chapters of the
Coming-Forth by Day," or, as it is more commonly interpreted, "The Book
of the Dead." It is a veritable book in scope, inasmuch as the closely
written papyrus roll on which it is enscrolled measures sometimes
seventy feet in length. It is virtually the Bible of the Egyptians, and,
as in the case of the sacred books of other nations, its exact origin is
obscure. The earliest known copy is to be found, not on a papyrus roll,
but upon the walls of the chamber of the pyramid at Saqqâra near Cairo.
The discovery of this particular recension of "The Book of the Dead" was
made by Lepsius. Its date is 3333 B.C. No one supposes, however, that
this date marks the time of the origin of "The Book of the Dead." On the
contrary, it is held by competent authority that the earliest chapters,
essentially unmodified, had been in existence at least a thousand years
before this, and quite possibly for a much longer time. Numerous copies
of this work in whole or in part have been preserved either on the walls
of temples, on papyrus rolls, or upon the cases of mummies. These
copies are of various epochs, from the fourth millennium B.C., as just
mentioned, to the late Roman period, about the fourth century A.D.

Throughout this period of about four thousand years the essential
character of the book remained unchanged. It is true that no two copies
that have been preserved are exactly identical in all their parts. There
are various omissions and repetitions that seem to indicate that the
book was not written by any one person or in any one epoch, but that it
was originally a set of traditions quite possibly handed down for a long
period by word of mouth before being put into writing. In this regard,
as in many others, this sacred book of the Egyptians is closely
comparable to the sacred books of other nations. It differs, however,
in one important regard from these others in that it was never
authoritatively pronounced upon and crystallised into a fixed,
unalterable shape. From first to last, apparently, the individual scribe
was at liberty to omit such portions as he chose, and even to modify
somewhat the exact form of expression in making a copy of the sacred
book. Even in this regard, however, the anomaly is not so great as might
at first sight appear, for it must be recalled that even the sacred
books of the Hebrews were not given final and authoritative shape until
a period almost exactly coeval with that in which the Egyptian "Book of
the Dead" ceased to be used at all.

A peculiar feature of "The Book of the Dead," and one that gives it
still greater interest, is the fact that from an early day it was the
custom to illustrate it with graphic pictures in colour. In fact, taken
as a whole, "The Book of the Dead" gives a very fair delineation of the
progress of Egyptian art from the fourth millennium B.C. to its climax
in the eighteenth dynasty, and throughout the period of its decline; and
this applies not merely to the pictures proper, but to the forms of the
hieroglyphic letters themselves, for it requires but the most cursory
inspection to show that these give opportunity for no small artistic

As to the ideas preserved in "The Book of the Dead," it is sufficient
here to note that they deal largely with the condition of the human
being after death, implying in the most explicit way a firm and
unwavering belief in the immortality of the soul. The Egyptian believed
most fully that by his works a man would be known and judged after
death. His religion was essentially a religion of deeds, and the code of
morals, according to which these deeds were adjudged, has been said by
Doctor Budge, the famous translator of "The Book of the Dead," to be
"the grandest and most comprehensive of those now known to have existed
among the nations of antiquity."

[Illustration: 318.jpg TAILPIECE]

[Illustration: 318b.jpg PHOENICIAN JEWLERY]

[Illustration: 321.jpg PAGE IMAGE]


_Mariette, Wilkinson, Bunsen, Brugsch, and Ebers: Erman's speech on
Egyptology: The Egypt Exploration Fund: Maspero's investigations: The
Temple of Bubàstis: Ancient record of "Israel": American interest in

Accompanying Napoleon's army of invasion in Egypt was a band of savants
representative of every art and science, through whom the conqueror
hoped to make known the topography and antiquities of Egypt to the
European world. The result of their researches was the famous work
called "Description de l'Egypte," published under the direction of the
French Academy in twenty-four volumes of text, and twelve volumes of
plates. Through this magnificent production the Western world received
its first initiation into the mysteries of the wonderful civilisation
which had flourished so many centuries ago, on the banks of the Nile.
Egypt has continued to yield an ever-increasing harvest of antiquities,
which, owing to the dry climate and the sand in which they have been
buried, are many of them in a marvellous state of preservation. From
the correlation of these discoveries the new science of Egyptology
has sprung, which has many different branches, relating either to
hieroglyphics, chronology, or archaeology proper.

The earliest and most helpful of all the discoveries was that of the
famous Rosetta Stone, found by a French artillery officer in 1799,
while Napoleon's soldiers were excavating preparatory to erecting
fortifications at Fort St. Julien. The deciphering of its trilingual
inscriptions was the greatest literary feat of modern times, in which
Dr. Thomas Young and J. F. Champollion share almost equal honours.

Jean François Champollion (1790-1832) is perhaps the most famous of
the early students of Egyptian hieroglyphs. After writing his "_De
l'écriture hiératique des anciens égyptiens_" at Paris, he produced in
1824 in two volumes, his "_Précis du système hiéroglyphique des anciens
égyptiens,_" on which his fame largely depends, as he was the first to
furnish any practical system of deciphering the symbolic writing, which
was to disclose to the waiting world Egyptian history, literature, and
civilisation. Champollion wrote many other works relating to Egypt, and
may truly be considered the pioneer of modern Egyptology. While much of
his work has been superseded by more recent investigations, he was so
imbued with the scientific spirit that he was enabled securely to lay
the foundation of all the work which followed.

[Illustration: 321.jpg THE GREAT HALL OF ABYDOS]

The distinguished French savant, Augustus Mariette, (1821-1881) began
his remarkable excavations in Egypt in the year 1850. The series of
discoveries inaugurated by him lasted until the year 1880. Mariette made
an ever-memorable discovery when he unearthed the famous Serapeum which
had once been the burial-place of the sacred bulls of Memphis, which the
geographer Strabo records had been covered over by the drifting sands of
the desert even in the days of Augustus.

[Illustration: 322.jpg PROPYLON AT DENDERAH]

The Serapeum was in the neighbourhood of the Sphinx, and, on account of
its great height, remained in part above the ground, and was visible to
all passers-by; while everything else in the neighbourhood except the
great Pyramid of Khûfûi was totally buried under the sand. Mariette
worked his way along the passage between the Great Sphinx and the other
lesser sphinxes which lay concealed in the vicinity, and thus gradually
came to the opening of the Serapeum. In November, 1850, his labours were
crowned with brilliant success. He discovered sixty-four tombs of
Apis, dating from the eighteenth dynasty until as late as the reign of
Cleopatra. He likewise found here many figures, images, ancient Egyptian
ornaments and amulets, and memorial stones erected by the devout
worshippers of antiquity. Fortunately for Egyptian archæology and
history, nearly all the monuments here discovered were dated, and were
thus of the highest value in settling the dates of dynasties and of the
reigns of individual monarchs. Mariette afterwards discovered a splendid
temple in the same place, which he proved to have been the famous shrine
of the god Sokar-Osiris. He was soon appointed by the Egyptian Viceroy,
Said Pasha, as director of the new museum of antiquities which was then
placed at Bulak, in the vicinity of Cairo, awaiting the completion of
a more substantial building at Gizeh. He obtained permission to make
researches in every part of Egypt; and with varying success he excavated
in as many as thirty-seven localities. In some of the researches
undertaken by his direction, it is to be feared that many invaluable
relics of antiquity may have been destroyed through the carelessness of
the workmen. This is to be accounted for from the fact that Mariette was
not always able to be present, and the workmen naturally had no personal
interest in preserving every relic and fragment from the past. It is
also to be regretted that he left no full account of the work which he
undertook, and for this reason much of it had to be gone over again by
more modern explorers.

In the Delta excavations were made at Sais, Bubastis, and elsewhere.
Mariette also discovered the temple of Tanis, and many curious
human-headed sphinxes, which probably belong to the twelfth dynasty,
and represent its kings. He further continued the labours of Lepsius
about the necropolis of Memphis and Saqqâra. Here several hundred tombs
were discovered with the many inscriptions and figures which these
contained. One of the most important of these findings--a superb example
of Egyptian art--is the statue called by the Arabs "The Village
Chief," which is now in the museum at Bulak. Mariette followed out his
researches on the site of the sacred city of Abydos. Here he discovered
the temple of Seti I. of the nineteenth dynasty.

[Illustration: 324.jpg TYPES OF EGYPTIAN COLUMNS: 1, 2, 3, GEOMETRIC ',
6-11, BOTANICAL; 4, 5, 12, HATHORIC.]

On the walls are beautiful sculptures which are exquisite examples of
Egyptian art, and a chronological table of the Kings of Abydos. Here
Seti I. and Ramses IL, his son, are represented as offering homage to
their many ancestors seated upon thrones inscribed with their names and

Mariette discovered eight hundred tombs belonging for the most part
to the Middle Kingdom. At Denderah he discovered the famous Ptolemaic
temple of Hâthor, the goddess of love, and his accounts of these
discoveries make up a large volume. Continuing his labours, he excavated
much of the site of ancient Thebes and the temple of Karnak, and, south
of Thebes, the temple of Medinet-Habu. At Edfu Mariette found the temple
of Horus, built during the time of the Ptolemies, whose roof formed the
foundation of an Arab village. After persevering excavations the whole
magnificent plan of the temple stood uncovered, with all its columns,
inscriptions, and carvings nearly intact.*

     * In connection with the architecture of the ancient
     Egyptian tombs, it is interesting to note that there was a
     development of architectural style in the formation of
     Egyptian columns not dissimilar in its evolution to that
     which is visible in the case of the Greek and Roman columns.

     The earliest Egyptian column appears to have been of a
     strictly geometrical character. This developed into a column
     resembling the Doric order. A second class of Egyptian
     column was based upon plant forms, probably derived from the
     practice of using reeds in the construction of mud huts. The
     chief botanical form which has come down to us is that of
     the lotus. A more advanced type of decoration utilised the
     goddess Hâthor for the support of the superincumbent weight
     and has its analogy in the decadent caraytides of late Roman

Owing to Mariette's friendship with the viceroy he was able to guard
his right to excavate with strict exclusiveness. He was accustomed to
allow other scholars the right to examine localities where he had been
the first one to make the researches, but he would not even allow the
famous Egyptologist, also his great friend, Heinrich Brugsch, to make
excavations in new places. After his death, conditions were somewhat
altered, although the general directorship of the excavations was still
given exclusively to Frenchmen. The successors of Mariette Bey were
Gaston Maspero, E. Grébault, J. de Morgan, and Victor Laret. But as time
went on, savants of other nationalities were allowed to explore, with
certain reservations. Maspero founded an archaeological mission in Cairo
in 1880, and placed at its head, in successive order, MM. Lebebure,
Grébault, and Bouriant. The first of all to translate complete Egyptian
books and entire inscriptions was Emanuel de Rougé, who exerted a great
influence upon an illustrious galaxy of French savants, who followed
more or less closely the example set by him. Among these translators we
may enumerate Mariette, Charles Deveria, Pierret, Maspero himself, and
Revillout, who has proved himself to be the greatest demotic scholar of

England is also represented by scholars of note, among whom may be
mentioned Dr. Samuel Birch (1813--85). He was a scholar of recognised
profundity and also of remarkable versatility. One of the most important
editorial tasks of Doctor Birch was a series known as "The Records
of the Past," which consisted of translations from Egyptian and
Assyrio-Babylonian records. Doctor Birch himself contributed several
volumes to this series. He had also the added distinction of being the
first translator of the Egyptian _Book of the Dead_.

Another English authority was Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson, who wrote
several important works on the manners and customs of the ancient
Egyptians. Wilkinson was born in 1797 and died in 1875. Whoever would
know the Egyptian as he was, in manner and custom, should peruse
the pages of his Egyptian works. His "Popular Account of the Ancient
Egyptians" has been the chief source of information on the subject.

German scholars have done especially valuable work in the translation
of texts from the Egyptian temples, and in pointing out the relation
between these texts and historical events. Foremost among practical
German archaeologists is Karl Richard Lepsius, who was born in 1810 at
Naumburg, Prussia, and died in 1884 at Berlin. In his maturer years
he had a professorship in Berlin. He made excursions to Egypt in an
official capacity, and familiarised himself at first hand with the
monuments and records that were his life-study. The letters of Lepsius
from Egypt and Nubia were more popular than his other writings, and were
translated into English and widely read.

Another famous German who was interested in the study of Egyptology
was Baron Christian Bunsen (1791-1867). From early youth he showed the
instincts of a scholar, but was prevented for many years from leading a
scholar's life, owing to his active duties in the diplomatic service for
Prussia at Rome and London. During the years 1848--67, Bunsen brought
out the famous work called "Egypt's Place in Universal History,"
which Brugsch deemed to have contributed more than any other work in
popularising the subject of Egyptology.

Heinrich Carl Brugsch was born at Berlin in 1827 and died there in 1894.
Like Bunsen, he was a diplomatist and a scholar. He entered the
service of the Egyptian government, and merited the titles of bey
and subsequently of pasha. He became known as one of the foremost of
Egyptologists, and was the greatest authority of his day on Egyptian
writing. He wrote a work of standard authority, translated into English
under the title of "The History of Egypt under the Pharaohs." The
chronology of Egypt now in use is still based upon the system created by
Brugsch, which, though confessedly artificial, nevertheless is able to
meet the difficulties of the subject better than any other yet devised.

Among distinguished German Egyptologists must be mentioned Georg
Moritz Ebers (1839-96). He is best known by his far-famed novels, whose
subjects are taken from the history of ancient Egypt, perhaps the most
popular being "An Egyptian Princess." Besides these popular novels and a
valuable description of Egypt, Ebers also made personal explorations in
the country, and discovered at Thebes the great medical papyrus, which
is called the Papyrus Ebers. This remarkable document, to which he
devoted so much labour, is our chief source of information regarding
the practice of medicine as it existed, and would alone keep the name of
Ebers alive among Egyptologists.

The leading German Egyptologist of to-day is Dr. Adolf Erman, who was
born at Berlin in 1854. He is the worthy successor to Brugsch in the
chair of Egyptology at the University of Berlin, and is director of
the Berlin Egyptian Museum. His writings have had to do mainly with
grammatical and literary investigations. His editions of the "Romances
of Old Egypt" are models of scholarly interpretation. They give the
original hieratic text, with translation into Egyptian hieroglyphics,
into Latin and into German. Doctor Erman has not, however, confined his
labours to this strictly scholarly type of work, but has also written a
distinctly popular book on the life of the ancient Egyptians, which
is the most complete work that has appeared since the writings of

The memorable speech of Erman, delivered on the occasion of his election
as a member of the Berlin Academy, sets forth clearly the progress
made in the science of Egyptology and present-day tendencies. On that
occasion he said:

"Some of our older fellow-specialists complain that we of the younger
generation are depriving Egyptology of all its charm, and that, out of
a delightful science, abounding in startling discoveries, we have made
a philological study, with strange phonetic laws and a wretched syntax.
There is doubtless truth in this complaint, but it should be urged
against the natural growth of the science, and not against the personal
influence of individuals or its development. The state through which
Egyptology is now passing is one from which no science escapes. It is a
reaction against the enthusiasm and the rapid advance of its early days.

"I can well understand to outsiders it may seem as though we had only
retrograded during later years. Where are the good old times when every
text could be translated and understood? Alas! a better comprehension of
the grammar has revealed on every side difficulties and impediments
of which hitherto nothing had been suspected. Moreover, the number of
ascertained words in the vocabulary is continually diminishing, while
the host of the unknown increases; for we no longer arrive at the
meaning by the way of audacious etymologies and still more audacious

"We have yet to travel for many years on the arduous path of empirical
research before we can attain to an adequate dictionary. There is indeed
an exceptional reward which beckons us on to the same goal, namely,
that we shall then be able to assign to Egyptian its place among the
languages of Western Asia and of Africa. At present we do well to
let this great question alone. As in the linguistic department of
Egyptology, so it is in every other section of the subject. The Egyptian
religion seemed intelligently and systematically rounded off when each
god was held to be the incarnation of some power of nature. Now we
comprehend that we had better reserve our verdict on this matter until
we know the facts and the history of the religion; and how far we are
from knowing them is proved to us by every text. The texts are full of
allusions to the deeds and fortunes of the gods, but only a very small
number of these allusions are intelligible to us.

"The time has gone by in which it was thought possible to furnish the
chronology of Egyptian history, and in which that history was supposed
to be known, because the succession of the most powerful kings had been
ascertained. To us the history of Egypt has become something altogether
different. It comprises the history of her civilisation, her art, and
her administration; and we rejoice in the prospect that one day it may
be possible in that land to trace the development of a nation throughout
five thousand years by means of its own monuments and records. But we
also know that the realisation of this dream must be the work of many

"The so-called 'demotic' texts, which lead us out of ancient Egypt into
the Græco-Roman period, were deciphered with the acumen of genius more
than half a century ago by Heinrich Brugsch, but to-day these also
appear to us in a new light as being full of unexpected difficulties and
in apparent disagreement with both the older and the later forms of
the language. In this important department we must not shrink from a
revision of past work.

"I will not further illustrate this theme; but the case is the same in
every branch of Egyptology. In each, the day of rapid results is at an
end, and the monotonous time of special studies has begun. Hence I would
beg the Academy not to expect sensational discoveries from their new
associate. I can only offer what _labor improbus_ brings to light, and
that is _small_ discoveries; yet in the process of time they will
lead us to those very ends which seemed so nearly attainable to our

The German school may perhaps be said to have devoted its time
especially to labours upon Egyptian grammar and philology, while the
French school is better known for its excellent work on the history
and archaeology of ancient Egypt. On these topics the leading authority
among all the scholars of to-day is the eminent Frenchman, Professor
Gaston C. C. Maspero, author of the first nine volumes of the present
work. He was born at Paris, June 24,1846. He is a member of the French
Institute, and was formerly Professor of Egyptian Archeology and
Ethnology in the Collège de France, and, more recently, Director of
the Egyptian Museum at Bulak. His writings cover the entire field
of Oriental antiquity. In this field Maspero has no peer among
Egyptologists of the present or the past. He possesses an eminent gift
of style, and his works afford a rare combination of the qualities of
authority, scientific accuracy, and of popular readableness.

Some extraordinary treasures from tombs were discovered in the year
1881. At that date Arabs often hawked about in the streets what
purported to be genuine works of antiquity. Many of these were in
reality imitations; but Professor Maspero in this year secured from an
Arab a funeral papyrus of Phtahhotpû I., and after considerable trouble
he was able to locate the tomb in Thebes from which the treasure had
been taken. Brugsch now excavated the cave, which was found to be the
place where a quantity of valuable treasures had been secreted, probably
at the time of the sacking of Thebes by the Assyrians. Six thousand
objects were secured, and they included twenty-nine mummies of kings,
queens, princes, and high priests, and five papyri, among which was
the funeral papyrus of Queen Makeru of the twentieth dynasty. The
mummy-cases had been opened by the Arabs, who had taken out the mummies
and in some instances replaced the wrong ones. Many mummies of the
eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties had been removed to this cave
probably for safety, on account of its secrecy. Out of the twenty-nine
mummies found here, seven were of kings, nine of queens and princesses,
and several more of persons of distinction. The place of concealment
was situated at a turn of a cliff southwest of the village of

The explorers managed successfully to identify King Raskamen of the
seventeenth dynasty, King Ahmosis I., founder of the eighteenth dynasty,
and his queen Ahmo-sis-Nofrîtari, also Queen Arhotep and Princess Set
Amnion, and the king's daughters, and his son Prince Sa Amnion. They
also found the mummies of Thûtmosis I., Thûtmosis II. and of Thûtmosis
III. (Thûtmosis the Great), together with Ramses I., Seti I., Ramses
XII., King Phtahhotpû II., and noted queens and princesses.

In the year 1883 the Egypt Exploration Fund was founded for the purpose
of accurate historical investigation in Egypt. The first work undertaken
was on a mound called the Tel-el-Mashuta, in the Wadi-et-Tumi-lat.
This place was discovered to be the site of the ancient Pithom, a
treasure-city supposed to have been built by the Israelites for Pharaoh.
In the Greek and Roman period the same place had been called Hereopolis.
M. Naville also discovered Succoth, the first camping-ground of the
Israelites while fleeing from their oppressor, and an inscription with
the word "Pikeheret," which he judged to be the Pihahiroth of the Book
of Exodus. The next season the site of Zoan of the Bible was explored, a
village now termed San.

Professor W. M. Flinders Petrie started work where a rim of red granite
stood up upon one of the many mounds in the neighbourhood. The site of
the ancient city had been here, and the granite rim was on the site of a
temple. The latter had two enclosure walls, one of which had been built
of sun-dried bricks, and was of extreme antiquity; the other was built
of bricks of eight times the size and weight of modern bricks, and the
wall was of very great strength. Dwelling-houses had been built in the
locality, and coins and potsherds discovered. These remains Professor
Petrie found to belong to periods between the sixth and twenty-sixth
dynasties. Stones were found in the vicinity with the cartouche of King
Papi from one of the earliest dynasties. There were also red granite
statues of Ahmenemhâît I., and a black granite statue of Kind Usirtasen
I. and of King Ahmenemhâît II., and a torso of King Usirtasen II. was
found cut from yellow-stained stone, together with a vast number of
relics of other monarchs. Parts of a giant statue of King Ramses II.
were discovered which must have been ninety-eight feet in height before
it was broken, the great toe alone measuring eighteen inches across, and
the weight of the statue estimated to be about 1,200 tons. In addition
to these relics of ancient monarchs, a large number of antiquities were
discovered, with remains of objects for domestic use in ancient Egyptian

The explorations conducted at Tanis during 1883-84 brought to light
objects mainly of the Ptolemaic period, because a lower level had not at
that period been reached, but here many invaluable relics of Ptolemaic
arts were unearthed. The results of researches were published at this
date bearing upon the Great Pyramid. Accurate measurements had been
undertaken by Professor Petrie, who was able to prove that during one
epoch systematic but unavailing efforts had been made to destroy these
great structures.

Professor Maspero discovered among the hills of Thebes an important
tomb of the eleventh dynasty, which threw light upon obscure portions
of Egyptian history, and contained texts of the "Book of the Dead."
The following year he discovered the necropolis of Khemnis in the
neighbourhood of Kekhrneen, a provincial town in Upper Egypt built on
the site of the ancient Panopolis. The remains were all in a state of
perfect preservation.

In July, 1884, Professor Maspero secured permission from the Egyptian
government to buy from the natives the property which they held on the
site of the Great Temple at Luxor, and to prevent any further work of
destruction. These orders, however, were not carried out till early in
1885, when Maspero began excavating with one hundred and fifty workmen.
He first unearthed the sanctuary of Amenhôthes III., with its massive
roof. He brought to light the great central colonnade, and discovered a
portico of Ramses II., and many colossi, which were either still erect
or else had fallen on the ground. The columns of Amenhôthes III. were
next explored, which were found to be among the most beautiful of all
specimens of Egyptian architecture. It is believed that Luxor will prove
to have been a locality of almost as great a beauty as Karnak.

During the season of 1884-85 Professor Petrie started excavations at the
modern Nehireh, which he learned was the site of the ancient Naucratis.*
Here many Greek inscriptions were found.

     * The investigations on this site were continued in the
     season of 1888-89.

[Illustration: 336.jpg ruins at luxor]

This city was one of great importance and a commercial mart during the
reign of Ahmosis, although in the time of the Emperor Commodus it had
wholly disappeared. Two temples of Apollo were discovered, one of which
was built from limestone in the seventh century B.C.; and the other
was of white marble, beautifully decorated, and dating from the fifth

Magnificent libation bowls were also discovered here, some of which had
been dedicated to Hera, others to Zeus, and others to Aphrodite. The
lines of the ancient streets were traced, and a storehouse or granary
of the ancient Egyptians was unearthed, also many Greek coins. Besides
these were discovered votive deposits, cups of porcelain, alabaster
jugs, limestone mortars; and trowels, chisels, knives, and hoes.

Much light was thrown by these discoveries on the progress of the
ceramic arts, and many links uniting the Greek pottery with the Egyptian
pottery were here for the first time traced. It was learned that the
Greeks were the pupils of the Egyptians, but that they idealised the
work of their masters and brought into it freer conceptions of beauty
and of proportion.

M. Naville was engaged about this time in controversies as to the true
site of this ancient Pithom. He also made, in 1886, a search for the
site of Goshen. He believed he had identified this when he discovered
at Saft an inscription dedicated to the gods of Kes, which Naville
identified with Kesem, the name used in the Septuagint for Goshen.
Others, however, disagree, and locate the site of Goshen at a place
called Fakoos, twelve miles north of Tel-el-Kebir.

The explorations of 1885-86 started under the direction of Professor
W. M. Flinders Petrie, Mr. F. Llewellen Griffith, and Mr. Ernest A.
Gardiner. Gardiner set out in the direction of Naucratis, and Petrie and
Griffith proceeded to explore the site of Tanis. The mound at which they
worked, like many other localities of modern and ancient Egypt, has been
known by a variety of names. It is called Tel Farum, or the Mound of the
Pharaoh; Tel Bedawi, the Mound of the Bedouins; and Tel Nebesheh, after
the name of the village upon this site. There are remains here of an
ancient cemetery and of two ancient towns and a temple. The cemetery
was found to be unlike those of Memphis, Thebes, or Abydos. It contained
many small chambers and groups of chambers irregularly placed about a
sandy plain. These were built mostly of brick, but there were other and
larger ones built of limestone. A black granite altar of the reign of
Ahmenemhait II. was discovered, and thrones of royal statues of the
twelfth dynasty. Here were also found a statue of Harpocrates, a portion
of a statue of Phtah, with an inscription of Ramses II., a sphinx and
tombs of the twentieth century B.C. containing many small relics of

Professor Petrie went on from here to the site of Tell Defenneh, the
Tahpanhes of the Bible, called Taphne in the version of the Septuagint.
This proved to be the remains of the earliest Greek settlement in
Egypt, and contains no remains from a later period than the twenty-sixth
dynasty. It was here that Psammeticus I. established a colony of the
Carian and Ionian mercenaries, by whose aid this monarch had won
the throne; and this Greek city had been built as one out of three
fortresses to prevent the incursions of the Arabians and Syrians. The
city of Tahpanhes or Taphne is referred to in the book of Jeremiah.

There were found on this site the remains of a vast pile of brick
buildings, which could be seen in outline from a great distance across
the plains. The Arabs called this "El Kasr el Bin el Yahudi," that is,
"The Castle of the Jew's Daughter." This was found to have been a fort,
and it contained a stele with a record of the garrison which had been
stationed there; pieces of ancient armour and arms were also found in
the neighbourhood. There was likewise a royal hunting-box on this site,
and all the principal parts of the settlement were found to have been
surrounded by a wall fifty feet thick, which enclosed an area of three
thousand feet in length and one thousand in breadth. The gate on the
north opened towards the Pelusiac canal, and the south looked out upon
the ancient military road which led up from Egypt to Syria. Pottery,
bronze-work, some exquisitely wrought scale armour, very light but
overlapping six times, were unearthed within this enclosure. There were
also Greek vases and other Greek remains, dating in the earlier part
of the reign of Ahmosis, who had subsequently sent the Greeks away, and
prevented them from trading in Egypt. Since this Greek colony came to an
end in the year 570 B.C., and as the locality was no longer frequented
by Greek soldiers or merchants, it is possible to set an exact term to
the period of Greek art which these antiquities represent. The Greek
pottery here is so unlike that of Naucratis and of other places that it
seems to be well ascertained that it must have been all manufactured at
Defenneh itself. Outside the buildings of the Kasr, Petrie discovered a
large sun-baked pavement resting upon the sands, and this discovery was
of value in explaining a certain passage of the forty-third chapter of
Jeremiah, translated from the Revised Version as follows: "Then came the
word of the Lord to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, Take great stones in
thine hand, and hide them in the mortar of the brick-work which is at
the entry of Pharaoh's house in Tahpanhes in the sight of the men of
Judah [i.e. Johannan and the captains who had gone to Egypt]; and say
unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold I
will send and take Nebuchadrezzar the King of Babylon, my servant, and
will set his throne upon these stones that I have hid; and he shall
spread his royal pavilion over them. And he shall come and smite the
land of Egypt." An alternate reading for "brickwork" is the pavement
or square. The pavement which Jeremiah described was evidently the one
which Petrie discovered, though he was not able at the time to discover
the stones which, according to Jeremiah, had been inserted in the
mortar. Outside the camp wall was further discovered the remains of a
large settlement, strewn on all sides with bits of pottery and jewelry
and a great number of weights.

During this season Maspero carried on researches at Luxor, and proceeded
to excavate in the neighbourhood of the Great Sphinx. There are many
Egyptian pictures which represent the Sphinx in its entirety down to
the paws, but the lower parts had for centuries been buried in the
accumulations of sand which had covered up all of the ancient site.
It had previously been supposed that the Sphinx had been hewn out of a
solid mass of rock resembling an immense boulder. Professor Maspero's
excavations enabled him not only to verify the accuracy of the
old Egyptian paintings of the Sphinx, but also to show that a vast
amphitheatre had been hewn out of the rock round the Sphinx, which was
not therefore sculptured from a projecting rock. Since the upper rim of
this basin was about on the same level with the head of the figure, it
became evident that the ancient sculptors had cut the rock away on all
sides, and had subsequently left the Sphinx isolated, as it is at the
present day. Maspero dug down during this season to a depth of thirty
yards in the vicinity.

Professor Maspero's last official act as Director-General of the
Excavations and Antiquities of Egypt was his examination of the mummy of
Ramses II. found in 1884, in the presence of the khédive and other
high dignitaries. The mummy of this great conqueror was well preserved,
revealing a giant frame and a face expressive of sovereign majesty,
indomitable will, and the pride of the Egyptian king of kings. He
then unbandaged the mummy of Nofritari, wife of King Ahmosis I. of the
eighteenth dynasty, beside which, in the same sarcophagus, had been
discovered the mummy of Ramses ITT. The physiognomy of this monarch is
more refined and intellectual than that of his warlike predecessor; nor
was his frame built upon the same colossal plan. The height of the body
was less, and the shoulders not so wide. In the same season Maspero also
discovered an ancient Egyptian romance inscribed on limestone near the
tomb of Sinûhît at Thebes. A fragment on papyrus had been preserved at
the Berlin Museum, but the whole romance was now decipherable.

Professor Maspero resigned his office of directorship on June 5, 1886,
and was succeeded in the superintendency of excavations and Egyptian
archeology by M. Eugene Grébault. In the same month Grébault started
upon the work of unbandaging the mummy of the Theban King Sekenenra
Ta-aken, of the eighteenth dynasty. It was under this monarch that a
revolt against the Hyksôs, or Shepherd Kings, had originated, in the
course of which the Asiatics were expelled from Egypt. The history of
this king has always been considered legendary, but from the signs of
wounds present in the mummy, it is certain that he had died in battle.
In the same season the mummy of Seti I. was unbandaged, and also that of
an anonymous prince.

The next season the work of clearing away the sand from around the Great
Sphinx was vigorously prosecuted by Grébault. In the beginning of the
year 1887, the chest, the paws, the altar, and plateau were all
made visible. Flights of steps were unearthed, and finally accurate
measurements were taken of the great figures. The height from the lowest
of the steps was found to be one hundred feet, and the space between the
paws was found to be thirty-five feet long and ten feet wide. Here there
was formerly an altar; and a stele of Thûtmosis IV. was discovered,
recording a dream in which he was ordered to clear away the sand that
even then was gathering round the site of the Sphinx.

M. Naville and Mr. F. Llewellen Griffiths explored during the season of
1886-87 the mound of Tel-el-Yehu-dieh (the mound of the Jew). The
site is probably that on which was once built the city that Ptolemy
Philadelphus allowed the Jews to construct. The remains of a statue of
the cat-headed goddess Bast, to which there is a reference in Josephus,
was also found here. The discovery of tablets of definitely Jewish
origin make it clear that the modern name had been given to the place
for some reason connected with the colony thus proved to have once been
settled there.

Naville also made researches at Tel Basta, the site of the Bubastis
of the Greeks, the Pi Beseth of the Bible, and the Pi Bast of the
Egyptians, which was formerly the centre of worship of the goddess Pasht
and her sacred animal, the cat. The whole plan of the ancient temple was
soon disclosed, the general outline of which bears much resemblance to
that of the great Temple of San. In the division which Naville called
the Festival Hall were numerous black and red statues inscribed with the
name of Ramses II., but many of which were probably not really erected
by this monarch. Here there was also found a standing statue of the
Governor of Ethiopia, a priest and priestess of the twenty-sixth
dynasty, and many other monuments of the greatest historical interest.
The hall itself was built of red granite.

Another hall, which Naville called the "Hypostyle Hall," possessed a
colonnade of such beauty that it would seem to justify the statement of
Herodotus, that the temple of Bubastis was one of the finest in Egypt.
The columns were either splendid red granite monoliths, with lotus-bud
or palm-leaf capitals; or, a head of Hâthor from which fell two long
locks. These columns probably belonged to the twelfth dynasty. In what
Naville called the "Ptolemaic Hall" occurs the name Nephthorheb or
Nectanebo I. of the thirtieth dynasty. The relics of this remarkable
temple thus cover a period from the sixth to the thirtieth dynasties,
some 3,200 years. During this season Professor Petrie made important
discoveries in relation to the obscure Hyksôs dominion in Egypt. Many
representations of these Shepherd Kings were found, and, from their
physiognomy, it was judged that they were not Semites, but rather
Mongols or Tatars, who probably came from the same part of Asia as the
Mongul hordes of Genghis Khan.

Early in 1888 excavations were resumed on the site of the great temple
of Bubastis by M. Edouard Naville, Mr. F. LI. Griffiths, and the Count
d'Hulst. The investigation again yielded the usual crop of antiquities
that was now always expected from the exploration of the famous sites. A
third hall was discovered, which had been built in the time of Osorkon
I., of red granite inlaid with sculptured slabs. There were also many
other monuments and remains of the monarchs, together with much valuable
evidence relating to the rule of the Hyksôs.

Petrie brought to London many beautiful Ptolemaic and Roman portraits,
which he had discovered in a vast cemetery near the pyramid which bears
the name of King Ahmenemhâît III. The portraits are in an excellent
state of preservation, and are invaluable as illustrative of the
features, manners, and customs of the Greek and Roman periods in
Egyptian history.

His researches in the neighbourhood of the Fayum at this time commenced
to bear fruit; and many questions were answered regarding the ancient
Lake Mceris. It was in this season also that the ever memorable
excavations conducted at Tel-el-Amarna were first begun. This place is
situated in Upper Egypt on the site of the capital, which had been built
by Ahmenhotpû IV. Here were discovered many clay tablets in cuneiform
characters containing documents in the Babylonian language. These were
found in the tomb of a royal scribe. The list contained a quantity
of correspondence from the kings or rulers of Palestine, Syria,
Mesopotamia, and Babylonia to Ahmenhotpû III. and IV. There were
Egyptian garrisons in those days in Palestine, and they were accustomed
to keep their royal masters well informed as to what was going on in the
country. Among other cities mentioned are Byblos, Smyrna, Appo or Acre,
Megiddo, and Ashpelon. During this season many relics of early Christian
art were discovered. In many cases a pagan picture had been in part
painted over, and thus given a Christian significance. Two figures of
Isis suckling Horus are, with slight alterations, made to represent the
Virgin and the Child. A bas-relief of St. George slaying the dragon was
discovered, which closely resembled that of Horus slaying Set.

During the following season of 1888-89, Petrie resumed his excavations
round the pyramid of Hawara, which was supposed to be the site of the
famous Labyrinth. Work had been begun here in the season previous,
and it was now to be crowned with great success. All the underground
passages and secret chambers under the pyramid were examined, and the
inscriptions discovered of King Ahmenemhâît III. prove that this was
without doubt the pyramid of the monarch of that name. It was discovered
that the Romans had broken into the recesses of these secret chambers,
and many broken Roman _amphoræ_ were unearthed. Later Professor Petrie
examined the pyramid of Illahûn, which stands at the gate of the Fayum.
It is probable that this was on the site of the ancient locks which
regulated the flow of the Nile into Lake Moris. Many of the antiquities
here discovered bore inscriptions of King Usirtasen II., and, in the same
locality, was discovered the site of an early Christian cemetery dating
from the fifth or sixth centuries. A few miles from Illahûn, the same
indefatigable explorer discovered the remains of another town belonging
to the eighteenth or nineteenth dynasties. A wall once surrounded the
town, and beyond the wall was a necropolis. The place is now called
Tell Gurah, and the relics give inscriptions of Thûtmosis III. or
Tûtankhamon and of Horemheb.

In the same season of 1888--89, Miss Amelia B. Edwards, who had been
sent out by the Egypt Exploration Fund, brought to a conclusion the
excavations which had been carried on for several seasons at Bubastis.
It was discovered that the temple itself dated back to the reign of
the famous Khûfûi (Kheops), the builder of the great Pyramid, since
an inscription with his name on it was discovered, together with one
inscribed to King Khafrî (Chephren). The monuments discovered on this
site were, for the most part, shipped to Europe and America.

The city of Boston, Mass., received a colossal Hâthor-head capital of
red granite, part of a colossal figure of a king, an immense lotus-bud
capital from the Hypo-style Hall of the temple, a bas-relief in red
granite from the Hall of Osorken II., and two bas-reliefs of limestone
from the temple of Hâthor, taken from the ancient Termuther.


Specimens recovered from here date from the fourth to the twenty-second
dynasties, and the relics from Termuther are from the last period of the

Early in 1891, Professor Petrie made his exhaustive examination of the
pyramid of Me-dum, which he declared to be the earliest of all dated
Egyptian pyramids, and probably the oldest dated building in the world.
Its builder was Snofrui of the third dynasty; and, joined with it, and
in a perfect state of preservation, was the pyramid temple built at the
same period. From forty to sixty feet of rubbish had accumulated around
the buildings, and had to be removed. The front of the temple was thirty
feet wide and nine feet high, and a door was discovered at the south
end. A wide doorway leads to the open court built on the side of the
pyramid. In the centre of the court stands the altar of offerings, where
there is also an inscribed obelisk thirteen feet high. The walls of the
temple are all marked with _graffiti_ of visitors who belonged to the
twelfth and eighteenth dynasties. A statuette was found dedicated to the
gods of the town by a woman.

The tombs at this place had been rifled in ancient times, but many
skeletons of people, who had been buried in a crouching attitude, were
discovered, and Petrie considered that these belonged to a different
race from that which was accustomed to bury the dead recumbent. A
quantity of pottery was also unearthed, dating from the fourth century.
The method by which the plan of a pyramid was laid out by the ancient
Egyptians was discovered in this excavation, and the designs show
considerable mechanical ingenuity in their execution, and afford a
perfect system for maintaining the symmetry of the building itself, no
matter how uneven the ground on which it was to be built.

In the spring of 1891, M. Naville started an excavation on the site of
the ancient Heracleopolis Magna at a place now named Hanassieh. He found
here many Roman and Koptic remains, and further discovered the vestibule
of an ancient Egyptian temple. There were six columns, on which Ramses
II. was represented as offering gifts. The name of Menephtah was also
noticed, and the architraves above the columns were seen to be cut with
cartouches of Usirtasen II. of the twelfth dynasty. This temple was
probably one of those to the service of which Ramses II. donated some
slaves, as is described in one of the papyri of the Harris collection.

A stone was discovered by Mr. Wilborn at Luxor, recording a period of
seven years' successive failure of the Nile to overflow, and the efforts
made by a certain sorcerer named Chit Net to remove the calamity.

During the season of 1895, Professor Petrie and Mr. Quibell discovered
homes belonging to paleolithic man on a plateau four thousand feet
above the Nile. Thirty miles south of Thebes, there are many large and
beautifully worked flints. Their great antiquity is proved by the fact
that they are deeply stained, whereas, in the same locality, there are
other flints of an age of five thousand years, which show no traces of

Close by this site was discovered the abundant remains of a hitherto
unknown race. This race has nothing in common with the true Egyptians,
although their relics are invariably found with those of the Egyptians
of the fourth, twelfth, eighteenth, and nineteenth dynasties. Petrie
declares these men to have been tall and powerful, with strong features,
a hooked nose, a long, pointed beard, and brown, wavy hair. They were
not related to the negroes, but rather to the Amorites or Libyans. The
bodies in these tombs are not mummified, but are contracted, though laid
in an opposite direction from those discovered at Medum. The graves are
open, square pits, roofed over with beams of wood. This ancient race
used forked hunting-lances for chasing the gazelle, and their beautiful
flints were found to be like those belonging to an excellent collection
already existing in the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford. They also made
an abundant use of copper for adzes, harpoons for spearing fish, and
needles for sewing garments. They used pottery abundantly, and its
variety is remarkable no less than the quality, which, unlike the
Egyptian, was all hand-made and never fashioned by aid of the wheel.
They entered Egypt about 3,000 B.C., and were probably of the white
Libyan race, and possibly may have been the foreigners who overthrew the
old Egyptian empire.

The discovery of the name of "Israel" in an Egyptian inscription was
in a sense, perhaps, the most remarkable event of the year 1895 in
archæology. It was first laid before the public by Professor Petrie,*
and was treated by Spiegelberg** in a communication to the Berlin
Academy, and by Steindorff.***

     * Contemporary Review, May 1896.

     ** Sitzberichte, xxv., p. 593. 3.

     *** Zeitschrift fur deutsch. Alt. test. Wiss., 1896, p. 330.

The name occurs in an inscription dated in the fifth year of Merenptah,
the successor of Ramses II., and often supposed to be the Pharaoh of the
Exodus. It is there written with the determinative of a people, not of
a city or country, and reads in our conventional transliteration
_Ysiràar_, but in reality agrees very closely to the Hebrew [...] the
last portion _aar_ being recognised as the equivalent of _el_ in several
words. Merenptah states that "Israel is fekt (?) without seed (grain or
offspring), Syria (Kharu) has become widows (Kharut) of or to Egypt." We
can form no conclusion from these statements as to the relation in
which the Israelites stood to Pharaoh and to Egypt, except that they are
represented as having been powerless. It is pretty clear, however, from
the context that they were then in Palestine, or at least in Syria.
Steindorff suggests that they may have entered Syria from Chaldæa
during the disturbed times in Egypt at the end of the eighteenth
dynasty, and connects them with the movements of the Khabiri (Hebrews?)
mentioned in the Tel-el-Amarna tablets. On the other hand, it is of
course possible, as Professor Petrie points out, that this reference
to the Israelites may have some connection with the Exodus itself.
M. Clermont Ganneau thinks that the localities mentioned are all in
Southern Palestine.*

     * Revue Archéologique, xxix., p. 127.

M. Edouard Naville found at Thebes many remains of the Punt sculptures.
The Puntites appear with their aquiline features, their pointed beards,
and their long hair; negroes also of black and brown varieties are
represented adjoining the Puntites proper. There are wickerwork
huts, and a figure of a large white dog with its ears hanging down.
Long-billed birds also appear flying about in the trees. Their nests
have been forsaken and robbed, and the men are represented as gathering
incense from the trees. Altogether, much invaluable information has been
gathered concerning the famous people who lived in the Land of Punt, and
with whom for a long period the Egyptians held intercommunication. Other
discoveries were made near the great temple of Karnak, and the buildings
of Medinet-Habu were cleared of rubbish in order to show their true

From its foundation, the Egypt Exploration Fund has received large
pecuniary support from the United States, chiefly through the enthusiasm
and energy of Dr. W. C. Winslow, of Boston. In 1880 Doctor Winslow, who
had been five months in Egypt, returned to America deeply impressed with
the importance of scientific research in Egypt, and, upon hearing of the
Exploration Fund in London, he wrote a letter expressive of his interest
and sympathy to the president, Sir Erasmus Wilson, which brought a
reply not only from him, but also from the secretary, Miss Edwards,
expatiating upon the purpose and needs of the society, and outlining
optimistically its ultimate accomplishments.

Doctor Winslow was elected honorary treasurer of the Fund for the United
States for the year 1883-84.* Many prominent residents became interested
and added their names to its membership, and have given it their effort
and their hearty financial support. Among the distinguished American
members have been J. R. Lowell, G. W. Curtis, Charles Dudley Warner, and
among the chief Canadian members are Doctor Bourinot and Dr. J. William

     *The American subscriptions from the year 1883 rapidly
     increased, and by the year 1895 had figured up to $75,800,
     and the total number of letters and articles written during
     that time had grown to 2,467. The organisation in America
     consists of a central office at Boston, together with
     independent local societies, such as have already been
     formed in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. The Boston
     office, and any independent local society, which subscribes
     not less than $750 a year, is entitled to nominate a member
     of the Committee. At the end of July, 1884, Doctor Winslow
     had forwarded to London $1,332.20.

The Fund has always preserved amicable relations with the Government
Department of Antiquities in Egypt. Excavations are conducted by
skilled explorers, and the results published promptly with due regard to
scientific accuracy and pictorial embellishment. The antiquities found
are either deposited in the National Museum at Cairo, or distributed
among public museums in the United Kingdom and the United States of
America and Canada, in strict proportion to the contribution of each
locality. Exhibitions are usually held in London in July of each year.

The Fund now consists of three departments, for each of which separate
accounts are kept. These departments are: 1. The Exploration Fund, for
conducting archeological research generally, by means of systematic
excavations. 2. The Archæological Survey, for preserving an accurate
pictorial record of monuments already excavated but liable to
destruction. 3. The Græco-Roman Branch, for the discovery of the
remains of classical antiquity and early Christianity.

The first work of the Græco-Roman Branch was to publish the recently
discovered Oxyrrhynchos papyri, of which two volumes, containing many
important classical and theological texts, were issued in 1898 and 1899
and 1900. Among its contents are parts of two odes of Pindar, of which
one begins with a description of the poet's relation to Xenocritus, the
inventor of the Locrian mode of music; a considerable piece of the
"Kolax" of Menander, one of the two plays upon which the "Eunuchus" of
Terence was based; part of a rhetorical treatise in Doric dialect, which
is undoubtedly a work of the Pythagorean school; the conclusion of the
eighteenth Keo-Tcfe of Julius Africanus, dealing with a question of
Homeric criticism; and part of a biography of Alcibiades. A new light
is thrown upon some of the less-known departments of Greek literature by
a well-preserved papyrus, which contains on one side a prose mime in two
scenes, a work of the school of Sophron, having points of resemblance to
the fifth mime of Herondas; while on the other side is an amusing farce,
partly in prose, partly in verse. The scene is laid on the shores of the
Indian Ocean, and the plot turns upon the rescue of a Greek maiden from
the hands of barbarians, who speak a non-Greek language with elements
apparently derived from Prakrit.*

     * This is a peculiarly interesting suggestion in view of the
     fact that there is in the British Museum an unpublished
     fragment which for some time was considered by Doctor Budge
     to be a species of Egyptian stenography, but which has also
     been suggested to be in Pehlevi characters.

The new Homeric fragments include one of Iliad VI., with critical
signs and interesting textual notes. Sappho, Euripides (Andromache,
"Archelaus," and "Medea"), Antiphanes, Thucydides, Plato ("Gorgias" and
"Republic"), Æschines, Demosthenes, and Xenophon are also represented.
Among the theological texts are fragments of the lost Greek original of
the "Apocalypse of Baruch" and of the missing Greek conclusion of the
"Shepherd" of Hennas.

In the winter of 1898-99, Doctors Grenfell and Hunt conducted
excavations for the Græco-Roman Branch in the Fayûm. In 1899-1900, they
excavated at Tebtunis, in the Fayûm, on behalf of the University of
California; and by an arrangement between that university and the Egypt
Exploration Fund an important section of the Tebtunis papyri, consisting
of second-century B.C. papyri from crocodile mummies, was issued jointly
by the two bodies, forming the annual volumes of the Græco-Roman Branch
for 1900-01 and 1901-02. Since 1900 Doctors Grenfell and Hunt have
excavated each winter on behalf of the Græco-Roman Branch,--in 1900-01
in the Fayûm, and in 1901-02 both there and at Hibeh, with the result
that a very large collection of Ptolemaic papyri was obtained. In the
winter of 1902-03, after finishing their work at Hibeh, they returned to
Oxyrrhynchos. Here was found a third-century fragment of a collection of
sayings of Jesus, similar in style to the so-called "Logia" discovered
at Oxyrrhynchos in 1897. As in that papyrus, the separate sayings
are introduced by the words "Jesus saith," and are for the most part
unrecorded elsewhere, though some which are found in the Gospels (e.g.
"The Kingdom of God is within you" and "Many that are first shall
be last, and the last shall be first") occur here in different
surroundings. Six sayings are preserved, unfortunately in an imperfect
condition. But the new "Logia" papyrus supplies more evidence concerning
its origin than was the case with its predecessor, for it contains an
introductory paragraph stating that what follows consisted of "the
words which Jesus, the Living Lord, spake" to two of His disciples; and,
moreover, one of the uncanonical sayings is already extant in part, the
conclusion of it, "He that wonders shall reign and he that reigns shall
rest," being quoted by Clement of Alexandria from the Gospel according
to the Hebrews. It is, indeed, possible that this Gospel was the source
from which all this second series of "Logia" was derived, or they, or
some of them, may perhaps have been taken from the Gospel according to
the Egyptians, to which Professor Harnack and others have referred the
"Logia" found in 1897. But the discoverers are disposed to regard both
series as collections of sayings currently ascribed to our Lord rather
than as extracts from any one uncanonical gospel.

[Illustration: 357.jpg PAGE IMAGE]


_The Royal Tombs at Abydos: Reconstruction of the First and Second
Dynasties: The Ten Temples at Abydos: The statuette of Khûfûi: Pottery
and Pottery Marks: The Expedition of the University of California._

Some interesting explorations have been conducted in Egypt by the
Exploration Fund during the four years 1900-04, under the guidance of
Prof. W. M. Flinders Petrie, whose enthusiasm and patience for the work
in this field seem to increase with the years of labour. In the winter
of 1899-1900, Professor Petrie and his zealous helpers began their
investigation of the royal tombs of the first dynasty at Abydos.
Commenting on this undertaking, Professor Petrie writes:

"It might have seemed a fruitless and thankless task to work at Abydos
after it had been ransacked by Mariette, and had been for the last four
years in the hands of the Mission Amélineau. My only reason was that
the extreme importance of results from there led to a wish to ascertain
everything possible about the early royal tombs after they were done
with by others, and to search even for fragments of the pottery. To work
at Abydos had been my aim for years past; but it was only after it
was abandoned by the Mission Amélineau that at last, on my fourth
application for it, I was permitted to rescue for historical study the
results that are here shown.

"Nothing is more disheartening than being obliged to gather results out
of the fraction left behind by past plunderers. In these royal tombs
there had been not only the plundering of the precious metals and the
larger valuables by the wreckers of early ages; there was after that the
systematic destruction of monuments by the vile fanaticism of the Kopts,
which crushed everything beautiful and everything noble that mere greed
had spared; and worst of all, for history, came the active search in the
last four years for everything that could have a value in the eyes of
purchasers, or be sold for profit regardless of its source; a search in
which whatever was not removed was deliberately and avowedly destroyed
in order to enhance the intended profits of European speculators. The
results are therefore only the remains which have escaped the lust
of gold, the fury of fanaticism, and the greed of speculators in this
ransacked spot.

"A rich harvest of history has come from the site which was said to be
exhausted; and in place of the disordered confusion of names without any
historical connection, which was all that was known from the _Mission
Amélineau_, we now have the complete sequence of kings from the middle
of the dynasty before Mena to probably the close of the second dynasty,
and we can trace in detail the fluctuations of art throughout these

At the time when Professor Maspero brought his history of Egypt to a
close, the earliest known historical ruler of Egypt was King Mena or

     * "The Royal Tombs of the First Dynasty," Parts I.-II.
     (Eighteenth and Twenty-first Memoirs of the Egypt
     Exploration Fund), London, 1900-1902.

     ** See Volume I., page 322, et seq.

Mena is the first king on the fragmentary list of Manetho, and the
general accuracy of Manetho was supported by the accounts of Herodotus
and other ancient writers. For several centuries these accounts were
accepted as the basis of authentic history. With the rise of the science
of Egyptology, however, search began to be made for some corroboration
of the actual existence of Mena, and this was found in the inscriptions
of a temple wall at Abydos, which places Mena at the head of the first
dynasty; and, allowing for differences of language, the records of
Manetho relating to the earlier dynasty were established. Mena was
therefore accepted as the first king of the first dynasty up to the very
end of the nineteenth century.

As a result of Professor Petrie 's recent investigations, however, he
has been enabled to carry back the line of the early kings for three or
four generations.

The royal tombs at Abydos lie closely together in a compact group on a
site raised slightly above the level of the surrounding plain, so that
the tombs could never be flooded. Each of the royal tombs is a large
square pit, lined with brickwork. Close around it, on its own level,
or higher up, there are generally small chambers in rows, in which were
buried the domestics of the king. Each reign adopted some variety in the
mode of burial, but they all follow the type of the prehistoric burials,
more or less developed. The plain square pit, like those in which the
predynastic people were buried, is here the essential of the tomb. It
is surrounded in the earlier examples of Zer or Zet by small chambers
opening from it. By Merneit these chambers were built separately around
it. By Den an entrance passage was added, and by Qa the entrance was
turned to the north. At this stage we are left within reach of the early
passage-mastabas and pyramids. Substituting a stone lining and roof for
bricks and wood, and placing the small tombs of domestics farther away,
we reach the type of the mas-taba-pyramid of Snofrui, and so lead on to
the pyramid series of the Old Kingdom.

[Illustration: 361.jpg PLAN OF THE ROYAL TOMBS AS ABYDOS]

The careful manner with which all details of a burial were supervised
under the first dynasty enables the modern Egyptologist, by a skilful
piecing together of evidence, to reconstruct an almost perfect picture
of the life of Egypt at the dawn of civilisation. One of our most
valuable sources of information is due to the fact that, in building the
walls of the royal tombs, there were deposited in certain parts within
the walls objects now technically known as _deposits_. We do not know
whether, in selecting these objects, the ancient Egyptian had regard
to what he considered their intrinsic value, or whether, as was most
probable, it was some religious motive that prompted his action. Often
the objects thus deposited come under the designation of pottery,
although the vases were sometimes shaped of stone and not of clay.
Within such vases all kinds of objects were preserved. The jar or vase
was closed with a lump of clay, either flat or conical, and the clay was
impressed, while wet, with a seal.

A detailed and elaborate examination of the relative positions of the
tombs, their dimensions, and the objects found in them, compared with
the various fragments of historical records of the early dynasties,
enables us to reconstruct the exact order of these ancient rulers. This
sequence is:

[Illustration: 362.jpg TABLE OF ANCIENT RULERS]*

     * Ka and Zeser were possibly brothers of Mena.

Following the dating tentatively computed by Professor Petrie, the dates
of some of these kings are:


Thus we have reconstructed the list of Thinite kings before Mena so
far as the facts allow, and perhaps so far as we are ever likely to
ascertain them.

The facts about the second dynasty, the kings after Qa, must now be
studied. In the tomb of Perabsen it was found that there were
buried with him vases of three other kings, which are therefore his
predecessors. Their names are Hotepahaui, Raneb, and Neteren; and it
is certain that Raneb preceded Neteren, as the latter had defaced and
re-used a vase of the former. As on statue No. 1, Cairo Museum, these
three names are in the above order, and, as the succession of two of
them is now proved, it is only reasonable to accept them in this order.
From all the available facts it seems that we ought to restore the
dynasty thus:

[Illustration: 363b.jpg TABLE OF KINGS]

The oldest tomb that we can definitely assign is that marked B 7, the
tomb of King Ka. This is a pit with sloping sides; the thickness of the
brick walls is that of the length of one brick, and the soft footing of
the wall and pressure of sand behind it has overthrown the longer sides.


The broken pottery mixed with the sand, which filled it, largely
consisted of cylinder jars, like the later prehistoric form; and these
had many inscriptions on them, written in ink with a brush, most of
which showed the name of Ka in the usual panelled frame. There can
therefore be no doubt of the attribution of this tomb.

The tomb B 9 is perhaps that of King Zeser, who seems to have been a
successor of Ka. It is of the same construction as that of Ka. The tomb
B 10 appears to be the oldest of the great tombs, by its easternmost
position; and the objects of Narmer point to this as his tomb. In both
the thickness and the batter of the walls there is a care shown in
proportioning the strength of the ends and the sides. The tomb B 15
is probably that of King Sma. Its walls are not quite so thick, being
fifty inches at the end. The post-holes in the floor suggest that there
were five on the long side, and one in the middle of each end, as in the
tomb of Narmer. But along the sides are holes for roofing beams near the
top of the wall. These roof beams do not at all accord with the posts;
and this proves that, here at least, the posts were for backing a wooden
chamber inside the brick chamber. If this be the case here, it was
probably also true in Narmer's tomb; and hence these brick tombs were
only the protective shell around a wooden chamber which contained the
burial. This same system is known in the first dynasty tombs, and we see
here the source of the chambered tombs of Zer and Zet. Before the age
of Mena, the space around the wood chamber was used for dropping in
offerings between the framing posts; and then, after Mena, separate
brick chambers were made around the wooden chamber in order to hold more

     *This chamber was burnt; and is apparently that mentioned by
     M. Amélineau, Fouilles, in extenso, 1899, page 107.

The tomb B 19, which contained the best tablet of Aha-Mena, is probably
his tomb; for the tomb with his vases at Naqada is more probably that of
his queen Neithotep. As both the tombs B 17 and 18 to the north of this
contained objects of Mena, it is probable that they were the tombs of
some members of his family.

The great cemetery of the domestics of this age is the triple row of
tombs to the east of the royal tombs; in all the thirty-four tombs here,
no name was found beside that of Aha on the jar sealings, and the two
tombs, B 6 and B 14, seen to be probably of the same age. In B 14 were
found only objects of Aha, and three of them were inscribed with the
name of Bener-eb, probably the name of a wife or a daughter of Mena,
which is not found in any other tomb.*

     * Professor Petrie's arguments, although home out by the
     evidence that he produces, have from time to time been
     criticised. M. Naville, for example, endeavours to prove
     that the buildings in the desert are not literally tombs,
     but rather temples for the cult of their Ka; and that there
     ought not to be kings anterior to Mena, particularly at
     Abydos: "Narmer" is really Boethos, the first king of the
     second dynasty. According to M. Naville, Boethos, Usaphis,
     and Miebidos are the only kings as yet identified of the
     early time. M. Naville also suggests that Ka-Sekhem and Ka-
     Sekhemui are two names for one king.

[Illustration: 366.jpg EBONY TABLET OF KING AHA-MENA]

From the time of Mena has come down to us an ebony tablet, as shown in
the illustration. This is the most complete of the inscriptions of this
king, and was found in two portions in the tombs marked B 18 and B 19.
The signs upon the tablet are most interesting. On the top line, after
the cartouche of Aha-Mena, there are two sacred boats, probably of
Sokaris, and a shrine and temenos of Nit. In the line below is seen a
man making an offering, and behind him is a bull running over undulating
ground into a net stretched between two poles, while at the end,
standing upon a shrine, is a bird, which appears to be the ibis of Thot.
A third line shows three boats upon a canal or river, passing between
certain places, and it has been reasonably conjectured that the other
signs in this line indicate these places as being Biu, a district of
Memphis; Pa She (or "the dwelling of the lake"), the capital of the
Fayum; and the Canal of Mer, or Bahr Yusef. So far this tablet
contains picture signs, but the fourth line gives a continued series of
hieroglyphics, and is the oldest line of such characters yet discovered.
Mr. F. LI. Griffiths translates these characters as "who takes the
throne of Horus."

In the north-west corner of the tomb, a stairway of bricks was roughly
inserted in later times in order to give access to the shrine of Osiris.
That this is not an original feature is manifest: the walls are burnt
red by the burning of the tomb, while the stairs are built of black
mud brick with fresh mud mortar smeared over the reddened wall. It is
notable that the burning of these tombs took place before their re-use
in the eighteenth dynasty; as is also seen by the re-built doorway of
the tomb of Den, which is of large black bricks over smaller red burnt
bricks. It is therefore quite beside the mark to attribute this burning
to the Kopts.

The tomb of King Zer has an important secondary history as the site of
the shrine of Osiris, established in the eighteenth dynasty (for none of
the pottery offered there is earlier than that of Amenhôthes III.), and
visited with offerings from that time until the twenty-sixth dynasty,
when additional sculptures were placed here.

[Illustration: 368.jpg TOMB OF ZER, 4700 B.C.]

Afterwards it was despoiled by the Kopts in erasing the worship of
Osiris. It is the early state of the place as the tomb of King Zer that
we have to study here, and not its later history.

The tomb chamber has been built of wood; and the brick cells around
it were built subsequently against the wooden chamber, as their rough,
unplastered ends show; moreover, the cast of the grain of the wood can
be seen on the mud mortar adhering to the bricks. There are also long,
shallow grooves in the floor, a wide one near the west wall, three
narrow ones parallel to that, and a short cross groove, all probably the
places of beams which supported the wooden chamber. Besides these there
was till recently a great mass of carbonised wood along the north side
of the floor. This was probably part of the flooring of the tomb, which,
beneath the woodwork, was covered with a layer of bricks, which lay
on clean sand. But all the middle of the tomb had been cleared to the
native marl for building the Osiris shrine, of which some fragments of
sculpture in hard limestone are now all that remain.

A strange feature here is that of the red recesses, such as were also
found in the tomb of Zet. The large ones are on the west wall, and in
the second cell on the north wall. No meaning can yet be assigned to
these, except as spirit-entrances to the cells of offerings, like the
false doors in tombs of the Old Kingdom.

In spite of the plundering of the tombs in various ages, the work of the
Egypt Exploration Fund was so thorough that not a few gold objects
have been found in the course of recent excavations. By far the most
important discovery of recent years was that of some jewelry in the tomb
of King Zer. The story of this find is so entertaining, and illustrates
so admirably the method of the modern scientific explorer, that we give
the account of it in Professor Petrie's own words:

"While my workmen were clearing the tomb, they noticed among the rubbish
which they were moving a piece of the arm of a mummy in its wrappings.
It lay in a broken hole in the north wall of the tomb. The party of four
who found it looked into the end of the wrappings and saw a large gold
bead, the rosette in the second bracelet. They did not yield to the
natural wish to search further or to remove it; but laid the arm down
where _they_ found it until Mr. Mace should come and verify it. Nothing
but obtaining the complete confidence of the workmen, and paying them
for all they find, could ever make them deal with valuables in this
careful manner. On seeing it, Mr. Mace told them to bring it to our huts
intact, and I received it quite undisturbed. In the evening the most
intelligent of the party was summoned as a witness of the opening of
the wrappings, so that there should be no suspicion that I had not dealt
fairly with the men. I then cut open the linen bandages, and found,
to our great surprise, the four bracelets of gold and jewelry. The
verification of the exact order of threading occupied an hour or two,
working with a magnifier, my wife and Mr. Mace assisting. When recorded,
the gold was put in the scales and weighed against sovereigns before
the workman, who saw everything. Rather more than the value of gold was
given to the men, and thus we ensured their good-will and honesty for
the future."

The hawk bracelet consists of thirteen gold and fourteen turquoise
plaques in the form of the façade with the hawk, which usually encloses
the _ka_ name of the king. The gold hawks have been cast in a mould
with two faces, and the junction line has been carefully removed and
burnished. The gold was worked by chisel and burnishing; no grinding or
file marks are visible. In the second bracelet, with the rosette, two
groups of beads are united at the sides by bands of gold wire and thick
hair. The fastening of the bracelet was by a loop and button. This
button is a hollow ball of gold with a shank of gold wire fastened in
it. The third bracelet is formed of three similar groups, one larger,
and the other smaller on either side. The middle of each group consists
of three beads of dark purple lazuli. The fastening of this bracelet
was by a loop and button. The fourth bracelet is fashioned of hour-glass

In this extraordinary group of the oldest jewelry known, we see
unlimited variety and fertility of design. Excepting the plain gold
balls, there is not a single bead in any one bracelet which would be
interchangeable with those in another bracelet. Each is of independent
design, fresh and free from all convention or copying.

The tomb of Zet consists of a large chamber twenty feet wide and thirty
feet long, with smaller chambers around it at its level, the whole
bounded by a thick brick wall, which rises seven and a half feet to the
roof, and then three and a half feet more to the top of the retaining
wall. Outside of this on the north is a line of small tombs about five
feet deep, and on the south a triple line of tombs of the same depth.
And apparently of the same system and same age is the mass of tombs
marked W, which are parallel to the tomb of Zet. Later there appears to
have been built the long line of tombs, placed askew, in order not to
interfere with those which have been mentioned, and then this skew line
gave the di-rection to the next tomb, that of Merneit, and later on to
that of Azab. The private graves around the royal tomb are all built of
mud brick, with a coat of mud plaster over it, and the floor is of sand,
usually also coated over with mud.

[Illustration: 372.jpg TOMB OF ZET, CIRCA 4700 B.C.]

The first question about these great tombs is how they were covered
over. Some have said that such spaces could not be roofed, and at first
sight it would seem almost impossible. But the actual beams found yet
remaining in the tombs are as long as the widths of the tombs, and
therefore timber of such sizes could be procured. In the tomb of Qa the
holes for the beams yet remain in the walls, and even the cast of the
end of a beam, and in the tombs of Merneit, Azab, and Mer-sekha are
posts and pilasters to help in supporting a roof. The clear span of
the chamber of Zet is 240 inches, or 220 if the beams were carried on
a wooden lining, as seems likely. It is quite practicable to roof
over these great chambers up to spans of twenty feet. The wood of such
lengths was actually used, and, if spaced out over only a quarter of the
area, the beams would carry their load with full safety. Any boarding,
mats, or straw laid over the beams would not increase the load. That
there was a mass of sand laid over the tomb is strongly shown by the
retaining wall around the top. This wall is roughly built, and not
intended to be a visible feature. The outside is daubed with mud
plaster, and has a considerable slope; the inside is left quite rough,
with bricks in and out.

Turning now to the floor, the basis of it is mud plastering, which was
whitewashed. On that were laid beams around the sides, and one down the
middle: these beams were placed before the mud floor was hard, and have
sunk about one-quarter inch into it. On the beams a ledge was recessed,
and on this ledge the edges of the flooring planks rested. Such planks
would not bend in the middle by a man standing on them, and therefore
made a sound floor. Over the planks was laid a coat of mud plaster. This
construction doubtless shows what was the mode of flooring the palaces
and large houses of the early Egyptians, in order to keep off the damp
of the ground in the Nile valley. For common houses a basis of pottery
jars turned mouth down was used for the same purpose. A very striking
example of this method was unearthed at Koptos.

The sides of the great central chamber of Zet are not clear in
arrangement. The brick cross walls, which subdivide them into separate
cells, have no finished faces on their ends. All the wall faces are
plastered and whitewashed; but the ends of the cross walls are rough
bricks, all irregularly in and out. Moreover, the bricks project forward
irregularly over the beam line. It seems, then, that there was an
upright timber lining to the chamber, against which the cross walls were
built the walls thus having rough ends projecting over the beams. The
footing of this upright plank lining is indicated by a groove left along
the western floor beam between the ledge on the beam and the side of
the flooring planks. Thus we reach a wooden chamber, lined with upright
planks, which stood out from the wall, or from the backs of the beams.
How the side chambers were entered is not shown; whether there was a
door to each or not. But as they were intended to be for ever closed,
and as the chambers in two corners were shut off by brickwork all round,
it seems likely that all the side chambers were equally closed. And
thus, after the slain domestics and offerings were deposited in them,
and the king in the centre hall, the roof would be permanently placed
over the whole.

The height of the chamber is proved by the cast of straw which formed
part of the roofing, and which comes at the top of the course of headers
on edge which copes the wall all around the chamber. Over this straw
there was laid one course of bricks a little recessed, and beyond that
is the wide ledge all round before reaching the retaining wall. The
height of the main chamber was 90.6 inches from the floor level.

Having examined the central chamber, the chambers at the sides should be
next considered. The cross walls were built after the main brick outside
was finished and plastered. The deep recesses coloured red, on the north
side, were built in the construction; where the top is preserved entire,
as in a side chamber on the north, it is seen that the roofing of
the recess was upheld by building in a board about an inch thick.
The shallow recesses along the south side were merely made in the
plastering, and even in the secondary plastering after the cross walls
were built. All of these recesses, except that at the south-west, were
coloured pink-red, due to mixing burnt ochre with the white.

The tomb of Merneit was not at first suspected to exist, as it had no
accumulation of pottery over it; and the whole ground had been pitted
all over by the Mission Amélineau making "_quelques sondages_," without
revealing the chambers or the plan. As soon, however, as Petrie began
systematically to clear the ground, the scheme of a large central
chamber, with eight long chambers for offerings around it, and a line of
private tombs enclosing it, stood apparent. The central chamber is very
accurately built, with vertical sides parallel to less than an inch. It
is about twenty-one feet wide and thirty feet long, or practically the
same as the chamber of Zet. Around the chamber are walls forty-eight
to fifty-two inches thick, and beyond them a girdle of long, narrow
chambers forty-eight inches wide and 160 to 215 inches long. Of these
chambers for offerings, Nos. 1, 2, 5, and 7 still contain pottery in
place, and No. 3 contains many jar sealings.

At a few yards distant from the chambers full of offerings is a line
of private graves almost surrounding the royal tomb. This line has
an interruption at the south end of the west side similar to the
interruption of the retaining wall of the tomb of Zet at that quarter.
It seems, therefore, that the funeral approached it from that direction.

The chamber of the tomb of Merneit shows signs of burning on both the
walls and the floor. A small piece of wood yet remaining indicates that
it also had a wooden floor like the other tombs. Against the walls stand
pilasters of brick; and, although these are not at present more than a
quarter of the whole height of the wall, they originally reached to the
top. These pilasters are entirely additions to the first building; they
stand against the plastering and upon a loose layer of sand and pebbles
about four inches thick. Thus it is clear that they belonged to the
subsequent stage of the fitting of a roof to the chamber. The holes that
are shown in the floor are apparently connected with the construction,
as they are not in the mid-line where pillars are likely. At the edge of
chamber No. 2 is a cast of plaited palm-leaf matting on the mud mortar
above this level, and the bricks are set back irregularly. This shows
the mode of finishing off the roof of this tomb.


From the position of the tomb of Den-Setui, it is seen naturally to
follow the building of the tombs of Zet and Merneit. It is surrounded by
rows of small chambers for offerings, and for the burial of domestics.
The king's tomb appears to have contained a large number of tablets of
ivory and ebony, for fragments of eighteen were found, and two others
are known, making in all twenty tablets from this one tomb. The
inscriptions on stone vases are, however, not more frequent than in
previous reigns. This tomb appears to have been one of the most costly
and sumptuous. The astonishing feature of this chamber is the granite
pavement, such considerable use of granite being quite unknown until the
step pyramid of Saqqâra early in the third dynasty. At the south-west
corner is a strange annex. A stairway leads down from the west and then
turns to the north. At the foot of the first flight of steps is a
space for inserting planks and brickwork to close the chamber, like
the blocking of the door of the tomb of Azab.1 This small chamber was
therefore intended to be closed. Whether this chamber was for the burial
of one of the royal family, or for the deposit of offerings, it is
difficult to determine. Of the various rows of graves around the great
tomb there is nothing to record in detail. An ebony tablet, presumably
of the time of Den, found among the first dynasty tombs, represents a
scene in which a king is dancing before Osiris, the god being seated
in his shrine. This tablet is the earliest example of those pictorial
records of a religious ceremony which, as we now know, was continued
almost without change from the first dynasty to the thirty-third. It is
interesting to note on this engraving that the king is represented with
the _hap_ and a short stick instead of the oar.

[Illustration: 379.jpg TABLET OF DEN-SETUI, 4600 B.C.]

It should be noted also that the royal name, Setui, occurs in the lower
part of the tablet, so that there is a strong presumption that the
tablet is of the time of Den-Setui, and the presumption is almost a
certainty when the tablet is compared with some sealings found in its
vicinity. Mr. F. LI. Griffiths has written at length on this important

     * Royal Tombs of the first dynasty, Part I: Eighteenth
     Memoir of the Egypt Exploration Fund, London, 1900, page 42.

He thinks that this tablet and two others somewhat similar were the
brief annals of the time, and record the historic events and the names
of government officials. He translates a portion of the inscription as
"Opening the gates of foreign lands," and in another part he reads,
"The master comes, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt." Moreover, he
translates certain signs as "Sheikh of the Libyans," and he identifies
a place named _Tny_ as This, or the capital of the nome in which Abydos

Of this reign also is an ivory tablet finely polished, but blackened
with burning, which has engraved upon it the oldest architectural
drawing in the world.

[Illustration: 380.jpg architectural drawing, B.C. 4600.]

The inscription on this precious fragment apparently refers to the great
chiefs coming to the tomb of Setui, and a picture of a building in the
middle of the inscription may be taken as representing on the left the
tomb chamber of Den-Setui, with a slight mound over it. The upright
strokes represent the steles outside the tombs, adjacent to which is the
inclined stairway, while on the right is a diagram of the cemetery, with
graves ar-ranged in rows around the tomb, with small steles standing up
over the graves.

A small piece of still another ivory tablet gives an interesting
portrait of Den-Setui. This king flourished about 4600 b. c, so that
this is perhaps the oldest portrait that can be named and dated. It
shows the double crown fully developed, and has an additional interest,
inasmuch as the crown of Lower Egypt was apparently coloured red, while
the crown of Upper Egypt was white in accordance with the practice that
we know existed during the later historic period.

[Illustration: 381.jpg IVORY PANEL OF DEN-SETUI, 4600 B.C.]

Among the many ivory objects found at Abydos is a small ivory panel from
a box which seems to have contained the golden seal of judgment of King

The engraving of this ivory panel is of the finest description, and
bears evidence of the magnificent workmanship of the Egyptians 6,500
years ago. It will be seen that enough of the fragment has been
preserved to include the cartouche of the monarch, and the snake at the
side is the pictograph of judgment. Beneath is the hieroglyph for gold,
and at the bottom is a sign which represents a seal cylinder* rolling
over a piece of clay.

     * It was for a long time thought that this hieroglyphic
     character represented a finger ring, but as it is now
     positively known that finger rings were not in use until
     long after the time of Den, this explanation had to be
     abandoned in favour of the more correct interpretation of a
     seal cylinder.

The tomb of Azab-Merpaba is a plain chamber, with rather sloping sides,
about twenty-two feet long and fourteen feet wide. The surrounding wall
is nearly five feet thick. The lesser and more irregular chamber on
the north is of the same depth and construction, fourteen feet by nine.
This lesser chamber had no remains of flooring; it contained many large
sealings of jars, and seems to have been for all the funeral provision,
like the eight chambers around the tomb of Merneit. Around this tomb is
a circuit of small private tombs, leaving a gap on the southwest like
that of Merneit, and an additional branch line has been added on at the

[Illustration: 382.jpg STAIRWAY IN THE TOMB AZAB]

All of these tombs are very irregularly built; the sides are wavy in
direction, and the divisions of the long trench are slightly piled up,
of bricks laid lengthwise, and easily overthrown. This agrees with
the rough and irregular construction of the central tomb and offering
chamber. The funeral of Azab seems to have been more carelessly
conducted than that of any of the other kings here; only one piece of
inscribed vase was in his tomb, as against eight of his found in his
successor's tomb, and many other of his vases erased by his successor.
Thus his palace property seems to have been kept back for his
successor's use, and not buried with Azab himself. In some of the
chambers much ivory inlaying was found.

The entrance to the tomb of Azab was by a stairway descending from the
east, thus according with the system begun by Den. On the steps, just
outside of the door, were found dozens of small pots loosely piled
together. These must have contained offerings made after the completion
of the burial. The blocking is made by planks and bricks, the whole
outside of the planking being covered by bricks loosely stacked, as can
be seen in the photograph, the planking having decayed away from before
them. The chamber was floored with planks of wood laid flat on the sand,
without any supporting beams as in other tombs.

The tomb of Mersekha-Semempses is forty-four feet long and twenty-five
feet wide, surrounded by a wall over five feet thick. The surrounding
small chambers are only three to four feet deep where perfect, while the
central pit is still eleven and one-half feet deep, though broken away
at the top. When examined by Professor Petrie few of the small chambers
contained anything. Seven steles were found, the inscriptions of which
are marked in the chambers of the plan; and other steles were also found
here, scattered so that they could not be identified with the tombs.
The most interesting are two steles of dwarfs, which show the dwarf type
clearly; with one were found bones of a dwarf. In a chamber on the
east was a jar and a copper bowl, which shows the hammer marks, and
is roughly finished, with the edge turned over to leave it smooth. The
small compartments in the south-eastern chambers were probably intended
to hold the offerings placed in the graves; the dividing walls are only
about half the depth of the grave.


The structure of the interior of the tomb of Mersekha is at present
uncertain. Only in the corner by the entrance was the wooden flooring
preserved; several beams (one now in Cairo Museum) and much broken wood
was found loose in the rubbish. The entrance is nine feet wide, and
was blocked by loose bricks, flush with wall face, as seen in the
photograph. Another looser walling farther out, also seen in the
photograph, is probably that of plunderers to hold back the sand.

The tomb of King Qa, which is the last of the first dynasty, shows a
more developed stage than the others. Chambers for offerings are built
on each side of the entrance passage, and this passage is turned to the
north, as in the mastabas of the third dynasty and in the pyramids. The
whole of the building is hasty and defective.

[Illustration: 385.jpg PLAN OF TOMB OF QA, CIRCA 4500 B.C.]

The bricks were mostly used too new, probably less than a week after
being made. Hence the walls have seriously collapsed in most of the
lesser chambers; only the one great chamber was built of firm and
well-dried bricks. In the small chambers along the east side the long
wall between chambers 10 and 5 has crushed out at the base, and spread
against the pottery in the grave 5, and against the wooden box in grave
2. Hence the objects must have been placed in those graves within a few
days of the building of the wall, before the mud bricks were hard enough
to carry even four feet height of wall. The burials of the domestics
must therefore have taken place all at once, immediately after the
king's tomb was built, and hence they must have been sacrificed at the
funeral. The pottery placed in the chambers is all figured in position
on the plan.

[Illustration: 386.jpg STYLE OF KING QA]

Only three steles were found in the grave of Qa, but these were larger
than those of the earlier graves. One of them, No. 48, is the longest
and most important inscription that has come down to us from the first
dynasty. This lay in a chamber on the west side of the tomb. In the
preparation of the stele, the block of stone had been ground all over
and edges rounded. On its surface the hieroglyphs were then sketched in
red ink, and were finally drawn in black, the ground being then roughly
hammered out. There the work stopped, and the final scraping and
dressing of the figures was never accomplished. The reading of the signs
is therefore difficult, but enough is seen to show that the keeper
of the tomb bore the name of Sabef. He had two titles which are now
illegible, and was also "Overseer of the Sed Festival." This scanty
information goes to show how little the official titles were changed
between the days of the first dynasty and the time of the building of
the pyramids. The stele of the king Qa was found lying over chamber;
it is like that found by M. Amélineau, carved in black quartzose stone.
Near it, on the south, were dozens of large pieces of fine alabaster

Among various objects found in these chambers should be noted the fine
ivory carving from chamber 23, showing a bound captive; the large stock
of painted model vases in limestone in a box in chamber 20; the set of
perfect vases found in chamber 21; a fine piece of ribbed ivory; a piece
of thick gold-foil covering of a hotep table, patterned as a mat, found
in the long chamber west of the tomb; the deep mass of brown vegetable
matter in the north-east chamber; the large stock of grain between
chambers 8 and 11; and the bed of currants ten inches thick, though
dried, which underlay the pottery in chamber 11. In chamber 16 were
large dome-shaped jar sealings, with the name of Azab, and on one of
them the ink-written signs of the "King's ka."

The entrance passage has been closed with rough brick walling at the
top. It is curiously turned askew, as if to avoid some obstacle, but the
chambers of the tomb of Den do not come near its direction. After nine
steps, the straight passage is reached, and then a limestone portcullis
slab bars the way, let into grooves on either side; it was, moreover,
backed up by a buttress of brickwork in five steps behind it. All this
shows that the rest of the passage must have been roofed in so deeply
that entry from above was not the obvious course. The inner passage
descends by steps, each about five inches high, partly in the slope,
partly in the rise of the step. The side chambers open off this stairway
by side passages a little above the level of the stairs.

The interior structure of the tomb of Qa is rather different from any
other. Instead of the timber being an entirely separate structure apart
from the brick, the brick sides seem here to have been very loosely
built against the timber sides. Some detail yet remains of the wooden
floor. The roofing is distinct in this tomb, and it is evident that
there was an axial beam, and that the side beam only went half across
the chamber. This is the only tomb with the awkward feature of an axial
doorway, and it is interesting to note how the beam was placed out of
the axis to accommodate it.

The tomb of Perabsen shows a great change in form since the earlier
series. A new dynasty with new ideas had succeeded the great founders
of the monarchy; the three reigns had passed by before we can again see
here the system of the tombs. Even the national worship was changed,
and Set had become prominent. The type of tomb which had been developed
under Azab, Mer-sekha, and Qa seems to have given way to the earlier
pattern of Zer and Zet. In this tomb of Perabsen we see the same row of
small cells separated by cross walls, like those of the early kings;
but in place of a wooden central chamber there is a brick chamber, and
a free passage is left around it communicating with the cells. What was
the form of the south side of that chamber cannot now be traced, as, if
any wall existed, it is now entirely destroyed. The entirely new feature
is the continuous passage around the whole tomb. Perhaps the object of
this was to guard against plunderers entering by digging sideways into
the tomb.

[Illustration: 389.jpg STONE CHAMBER OF KHASEKHEMUI]

The tomb of Khasekhemui is very different from any of the other royal
tombs yet known. The total length of the chamber from end to end is two
hundred and twenty-three feet, and the breadth in the middle is forty
feet, growing wider towards the northern end. The whole structure is
very irregular; and, to add to the confusion, the greater part of it was
built of freshly made mud bricks, which have yielded with the pressure
and flowed out sideways, until the walls are often double their original
breadth. It was only owing to this flow of the walls over the objects
in the chambers, that so many valuable things were found perfect, and
in position. Where the whole of the original outline of a wall had
disappeared, the form is given in the plan with wavy outline.

The central stone chamber of the tomb of Khasekhemui is the most
important part of the whole, as it is the oldest stone construction yet
known. The chamber is roughly seventeen by ten feet; the depth is nearly
six feet. There is no sign of any roof.

Nearly all the contents of this tomb were removed by the French
investigators in 1897. Among the more interesting objects found were
sealings of yellow clay, which were curiously enough of different types
at opposite ends of the tomb. Copper needles, chisels, axes, and model
tools were also found, and a beautiful sceptre of gold and sard was
brought to light by Professor Petrie, only an inch or two below a spot
that had been cleared by previous explorers.

In chamber 2 of the tomb of Khasekhemui were also found six vases
of dolomite and one of carnelian. Two of these are shown in the
illustration, and each has a cover of thick gold-foil fitted over the
top, and secured with a double turn of twisted gold wire, the wire being
sealed with a small lump of clay, the whole operation resembling the
method of the modern druggist, in fastening a box of ointment. Near
these vases were found two beautiful gold bracelets; one, Number 3,
is still in a perfect condition; the other, Number 4, has been,
unfortunately, crushed by the yielding of the wall of the tomb in which
it was deposited.


Each royal grave seems to have had connected with it two great steles.
Two, for instance, were found in the tomb of Merneit, one of which,
however, was demolished. There were also two steles at the grave of Qa.
So far only one stele had been found of Zet, and one of Mersekha, and
none appear to have survived of Zer, Den, or Azab. These steles seem to
have been placed at the east side of the tombs, and on the ground level,
and such of them as happened to fall down upon their inscribed faces
have generally been found in an excellent state of preservation.

Hence we must figure to ourselves two great steles standing up, side by
side, on the east of the tomb; and this is exactly in accord with the
next period that we know, in which, at Medum, Snofrui had two great
steles and an altar between them on the east of his tomb; and Rahotep
had two great steles, one on either side of the offering-niche, east
of his tomb. Probably the pair of obelisks of the tomb of Antef V., at
Thebes, were a later form of this system. Around the royal tomb stood
the little private steles of the domestics, placed in rows, thus forming
an enclosure about the king.

Some of Professor Petrie's most interesting work at Abydos was commenced
in November, 1902. In the previous season a part of the early town of
Abydos had been excavated, and it was found that its period began at the
close of the prehistoric age, and extended over the first few dynasties;
the connection between the prehistoric scale and historic reigns was
thus settled. The position of this town was close behind the site of the
old temples of Abydos, and within the great girdle-wall enclosure of the
twelfth dynasty, which stands about half a mile north of the well-known
later temples of Seti I. and Ramses II. This early town, being behind
the temples, or more into the sandy edge of the desert, was higher up;
the ground gently sloping from the cultivated land upward as a sandy
plain, until it reaches the foot of the hills, a couple of miles back.

The broad result of these new excavations is that ten different temples
can be traced on the same ground, though of about twenty feet difference
of level; each temple built on the ruins of that which preceded it,
quite regardless of the work of the earlier kings.

In such a clearance it was impossible to preserve all the structures.
Had Petrie and his companions avoided moving the foundations of the
twenty-sixth dynasty, they could never have seen much of the earlier
work; had they left the paving of the twelfth dynasty in place, they
must have sacrificed the objects of the Old Kingdom.


Also, had they only worked the higher levels, and left the rest, the
inflow of high Nile would have formed a pond, which would have so
rotted the ground that deeper work could not have been carried on in the
future. The only course, therefore, was to plan everything fully, and
remove whatever stood in the way of more complete exploration. All
striking pieces of construction, such as the stone gateways of Papi,
were left untouched, and work carried on to deep levels around them; in
this way, at the end of the season, the site was bristling with pieces
of wall and blocks of stonework, rising ten or fifteen feet above
the low level clearances. As the excavations progressed, there was
an incessant need of planning and recording all the constructions.
Professor Petrie always went about with a large dinner-knife and
a trowel in his pocket, and spent much time in cutting innumerable
sections and tracing out the lines of the bricks. The top and base level
of each piece of wall had to be marked on it; and the levels could then
be measured off to fixed points.

An outline of some of the principal buildings is given, to show the
general nature of the site of the temple of Abydos. This plan is not
intended to show all periods, nor the whole work of any one age; but
only a selection which will avoid confusion. The great outer wall on the
plan was probably first built by Usirtasen I.; the bricks of the oldest
parts of it are the same size as bricks of his foundation deposits, and
it rests upon town ruins of the Old Kingdom. But this wall has been so
often broken and repaired that a complete study of it would be a heavy
task; some parts rest on nineteenth dynasty building, and even Roman
patchwork is seen. Its general character is shown with alternating
portions, the first set consisting of towers of brickwork built in
concave foundations, and then connecting walls between; formed in
straight courses. The purpose of this construction has long been a
puzzle. The alternate concave and straight courses are the natural
result of building isolated masses, on a concave bed like all Egyptian
houses, and then connecting them by intermediate walls. The hard face
across the wall, and the joint to prevent the spread of scaling, are the
essential advantages of this construction.

The corner marked Kom-de-Sultan is the enclosure which was emptied out
by Mariette 's diggers, because of the abundance of burials with steles
of the twelfth to eighteenth dynasties.

[Illustration: 395.jpg WALL OF USIRTASEN I.]

They have removed all the earth to far below the base of the walls, thus
digging in most parts right through the town of the Old Kingdom, which
stood here before the great walls were built. The inner two sides of
this enclosed corner are later than the outer wall; the bricks are
larger than those of Usirtasen, and the base of the wall is higher than
his. The causeway line indicated through the site by a dotted line from
the east to the west gate is a main feature; but it is later than the
sixth dynasty, as the wall of that age cuts it, and it was cut in two
by later buildings of the twentieth dynasty. It seems then to begin with
Usirtasen, whose gateways it runs through; and to have been kept up by
Thûtmosis III., who built a wall with granite pylon for it, and also
by Ramses II., who built a great portal colonnade of limestone for the
causeway to pass through on entering the cemetery outside the west wall
of this plan.

To the north of the causeway are seen the tombs of the first dynasty.
One more, No. 27, was found beneath the wall of Thûtmosis; it was of the
same character as the larger of the previous tombs. All of these are far
below any of the buildings shown on this outline plan.

Of the two long walls, marked vi., the inner is older, but was re-used
by Papi. It is probably the temenos of the third dynasty. The outer
wall is the temenos of the sixth dynasty, the west side of which is
yet unknown, and has probably been all destroyed. The temple of Papi
is shown in the middle with the north-west and south sides of the thin
boundary wall which enclosed it. The thick wall which lies outside of
that is the great wall of the eighteenth dynasty, with the granite
pylon of Thûtmosis III. It seems to have followed the line of the sixth
dynasty wall on the north. The outline marked xix. shows a high level
platform of stone, which was probably for the basement of buildings of
Ramses II.

Within the area of these temples was discovered quite a number of
historical relics. None is more interesting, perhaps, than the ivory
statuette of the first dynasty king. This anonymous ruler is figured as
wearing the crown of Upper Egypt, and a thick embroidered robe.

From the nature of the pattern and the stiff edge represented, it looks
as if this robe were quilted with embroidery; no such dress is known
on any Egyptian figure yet found. The work belongs to an unconventional
school, before the rise of the fixed traditions; it might have been
carved in any age and country where good natural work was done. In its
unshrinking figuring of age and weakness with a subtle character, it
shows a power of dealing with individuality which stands apart from all
the later work.


Of greater interest, however, is the ivory statuette of Khûfûi, which
is the first figure of that monarch that has come to light. The king is
seated upon his throne, and the inscription upon the front of it leaves
no doubt as to the identity of the figure. The work is of extraordinary
delicacy and finish; for even when magnified it does not suggest any
imperfection or clumsiness, but might have belonged to a life-sized
statue. The proportion of the head is slightly exaggerated; as, indeed,
is always the case in minute work; but the character and expression are
as well handled as they might be on any other scale, and are full of
power and vigour. The idea which it conveys to us of the personality
of Khûfûi agrees with his historical position. We see the energy, the
commanding air, the indomitable will, and the firm ability of the man
who stamped for ever the character of the Egyptian monarchy and outdid
all time in the scale of his works. No other Egyptian king that we know
resembled this head; and it stands apart in portraiture, though perhaps
it may be compared with the energetic face of Justinian, the great
builder and organiser.

[Illustration: 398.jpg ivory statuette of khufvi.]

Two ivory lions were also found in one of the private tombs around that
of Zer. It is evident that these lions were used as playing pieces,
probably for the well-known pre-historic game of Four Lions and a Hare,
for the bases of the lions are much worn, as if by sliding about upon a
smooth surface, and the pelt of the lion, as originally carved, is also
worn off as if by continued handling. The lion shown in the illustration
is of a later style than those of Zer or of Mena. Near the place where
this was found were a few others. One of them, apparently a lioness, is
depicted with a collar, indicating that the animal had been tamed,
and yet another had inserted within the head an eye accurately cut in
chalcedony. Another valuable object unearthed at Abydos was the sceptre
of King Khase-khemui. This consisted of a series of cylinders of sard
embellished at every fourth cylinder with double bands of thick gold,
and completed at the thinner end with a plain cap of gold, copper rod,
now corroded, binding the whole together.

During the reign of King Zer the ivory arrow tip began to be commonly
used; hundreds were gathered from his tomb, and the variety of forms is
greater than in any other reign. Besides the plain circular points,
many of them have reddened tips; there are also examples of quadrangular
barbed tips, and others are pentagonal, square, or oval. Only the plain
circular tips appear in succeeding reigns down to the reign of Mersekha,
except a single example of the oval forms under Den.

[Illustration: 399.jpg CARVED IVORY LION]

Some flint arrow-heads were also found around the tomb of Zer, mostly of
the same type as those found in the tomb of Mena. Two, however, of these
arrow-heads, Numbers 13 and 14, are of a form entirely unknown as yet
in any other age or country. The extreme top of the head is of a chisel
form, and this passes below into the more familiar pointed form. The
inference here is almost inevitable, and it seems as if the arrow-heads
had been made in this peculiar way with a view to using the arrow a
second time after the tip was broken in attacking an animal.

[Illustration: 400.jpg ANCIENT EGYPTIAN ARROWS]

Another curious object dating from this reign and classed among the
arrows is a small portion of flint set perpendicularly into the end of
a piece of wood. This, in the opinion of Professor Giglioli, is not
an arrow at all, but a tattooing instrument. If this explanation be
correct, then this instrument is an extremely interesting find, for the
fact has been recently brought to light that tattooing was in vogue
in prehistoric times, and there is, moreover, at Cairo, the mummy of
a priestess of the twelfth dynasty having the skin decorated in this

Among the domestic articles is an admirable design of pair of tweezers,
made with a wide hinge and stiff points. Of analogous interest are two
copper fish-hooks, which, however, have no barbs. Needles also, which we
know were used in prehistoric days, appear in the relics of the tomb of
Zer and of subsequent rulers. Of the reign of Zer are also found copper
harpoons cut with a second fang, similar forms being found among
the remains of Mersekha and of Khasekhemui. In the centre of the
illustration is seen the outline of a chisel of the time of Zer, very
similar to those used in the early prehistoric ages. The same continuity
from prehistoric to first dynasty times is shown in the shape of the
copper pins dating from Zer, Den, Mersekha, and Qa.


At various times quite a considerable number of articles relating to
intimate daily life has been discovered. An exceedingly fortunate find
was that of an ivory comb of crude but careful workmanship, and which,
even after the lapse of sixty-seven centuries, has only lost three of
its teeth. This comb, according to the inscription on it, belonged to
Bener-ab, a distinguished lady, whose tomb has been already mentioned,
and who was either the wife or the daughter of King Mena of the first

Of the class of domestic objects is the primitive but doubtless quite
effective corn-grinder shown in the illustration. This was found in
an undisturbed tomb in the Osiris temenos, where also was a strangely
shaped three-sided pottery bowl, similar in shape to a stone bowl of the
same period, but otherwise unknown in antiquity. This three-sided bowl
may be regarded as a freak of the workman rather than as having any
particular value along the line of evolution of pottery forms; and it
is interesting to note that bowls of this form have been quite recently
made by the modern English potters in South Devonshire, as the result of
the inventive fancy of a village workman.

During the course of the excavations at Abydos many thousands of
fragments of pottery were collected.

[Illustration: 402a.jpg IVORY COMB, B. C. 4800]

Those that appeared to be of historic value were sorted and classified,
and, as a result of minute and extended labours, it is now possible for
the reader to see at a glance the principal types of Egyptian pottery
from prehistoric times, and to view their relationship as a whole. The
diagram exhibits an unbroken series of pottery forms from s.d. 76 to
B.C. 4400.

[Illustration: 402b.jpg CORN-GRINDER AND THREE-SIDED BOWL]

The forms in the first column are those classified according to the
chronological notation devised by Professor Petrie, enabling a "sequence
date" (s. d.) to be assigned to an object which cannot otherwise be
dated. In the second column are forms found in the town of Abydos, and
in the last column are those unearthed in the tombs. Most of the large
jars bear marks, which were scratched in the moist clay before being
baked; some few were marked after the baking.


Some of the marks are unquestionably hieroglyphs; others are probably
connected with the signs used by the earlier prehistoric people; and
many can scarcely be determined.

[Illustration: 404a.jpg POTTERY MARKS]

A typical instance of these pottery marks is shown in the illustration.
These signs appear to be distinctly of the time of Mer-sekha, and the
fortified enclosure around the name may refer to the tomb as the eternal
fortress of the king. These marks can be roughly classified into types
according to the skill with which they were drawn. The first example
illustrates the more careful workmanship, and the others show more
degraded forms, in which the outline of the hawk and the signs in the
cartouche become gradually more debased. It is tolerably certain that
what are known as the Mediterranean alphabets were derived from a
selection of the signs used in these pottery marks.

[Illustration: 404b.jpg POTTERY FORMS FROM ABYDOS]

An undisturbed tomb was found by accident in the Osiris temenos. The
soil was so wet that the bones were mostly dissolved; and only fragments
of the skull, crushed under an inverted slate bowl, were preserved. The
head had been laid upon a sandstone corn-grinder. Around the sides of
the tomb were over two dozen jars of pottery, most of them large. And
near the body were sixteen stone vases and bowls. Some of the forms,
such as are shown in the illustration, Nos. 3, 7, 8, are new to us. A
strange three-sided pottery bowl was also found here, but since there
is no museum in England where such a complete tomb can be placed, it was
sent to Philadelphia, in order that the whole series should be arranged
as originally found.

The sealings, the general description of which has been already given,
have come to light in such considerable quantities during the past few
years that their study became a special branch of Egyptology. As to
the earliest sealings, it was not until the time of Den that a broad
uniformity of style was established. The seals of the second dynasty are
generally of a smaller style and more elaborately worked than those of
the first dynasty. It is reasonable, therefore, to conclude that the
later seals were made in stone or metal rather than in wood.

[Illustration: 405.jpg THREE TYPES OF SEALINGS]

The illustration given of sealing No. 128, of the Egypt Exploration Fund
collection, shows a very fair type of the figuring of men and animals at
the time of the first dynasty as a survival of the prehistoric manner of
engraving. Here, then, at the very dawn of history, we find a spirited
depiction of the human form, for, rude though it is, there can be no
doubt but that it is a representation of the human figure, and stiff and
ungainly though the action of the drawing be, there can be no doubt as
to the progressive movement intended by the artist. On a sealing, No.
116, is seen the leopard with the bent bars on his back. The shrine upon
the same seal is of the general form, and is like the early huts with
reed sides, and an interwoven palm-rib roof. This is a specimen of an
intermediate manner of workmanship. The most advanced stage of art in
the sealings of the first dynasty, is No. 108. This is the royal seal of
King Zer, B.C. 4700, showing him seated and wearing the crowns of Upper
and Lower Egypt. By his side are the royal staff and his cartouches. It
was workmanship of this character which survived in Egypt almost as late
as Roman times; that is to say, the same style engraving was current in
the Valley of the Nile for forty-six centuries.

A particularly interesting sealing is a representation of two jars with
the flat seals across their tops.

[Illustration: 406.jpg A SEALING SHOWING JARS]

These jars, moreover, are depicted as bound around with a network of
rope in a manner which corresponds with some fragments of rope found
around some jars of this character.

[Illustration: 407.jpg accounts on pottery, B.C. 4600]

A small fragment of pottery originally forming the base of a brown
earthenware dish had inscribed upon it some accounts, and is the oldest
of such business records yet found in Egypt. The exact import of the
figures is not yet entirely intelligible, but they seem to refer
to quantities of things rather than to individuals, as the numbers,
although mostly twenty, are sometimes one hundred and two hundred. This
interesting fragment was found at the tomb of Zet, and thus establishes
the use of arithmetic before 4600 B.C.

The expedition supported by Mrs. Hearst, in the name of the University
of California, has done some useful work at El-Ahaiwah, opposite
Menshiyeh. The main cemetery at this place is an archaic one, containing
about a thousand graves or more, of which about seven hundred had
already been plundered. Between these plundered graves, about 250 were
found untouched in modern times. The graves yielded a good collection of
archaic pottery, pearl and ivory bracelets, hairpins, carnelian, garnet,
gold, blue glaze and other beads, etc.

About this cemetery was a cemetery of the late New Empire, containing a
number of vaulted tombs built of unburned brick. These yielded a large
number of necklaces, and several fine pieces of faïence and ivory, and
other objects. A second cemetery, farther north, contained a few late
archaic graves and about fifteen large tombs, usually with one main
chamber and two small chambers at each end. These tombs were of two
types (1) roofed over with wood, without a stairway, (2) roofed over
with a corbelled vault and entered from the west by a stairway. The
burials in these tombs are in the archaic position, head to south.
Dissected, or secondary, burials occur in these cemeteries, but
only rarely. Only one indisputable case was found, as shown in the


It would require several volumes adequately to deal with the results
of the excavations of the present century. Further discoveries, all
throwing new light upon the life of ancient Egypt, are being made each
season, and the number of enthusiastic workers gathered from every
nation constantly increases. Notwithstanding the heroic and splendid
work of past investigators, for many years to come the valley of the
Nile promises to yield important results, not only in actual field work,
but also in the close study and better classification of the thousands
of objects that are continually being brought to light.

Six thousand years of history have been unrolled; tomb and tablet, shard
and papyrus have told their story, and the vista stretches back to
the dawn of human history in that inexhaustible valley watered by the
perennial overflow of the grandest river in the world. But there is
much still to be accomplished by the enthusiastic spirit, the keen and
selective mind, in the study of this ancient land, the cradle and the
grave of nations.


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